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Proposed Rule To Make Tribal Oil Pricing Fairer

The federal government is trying to create a better system for pricing oil and gas on Indian reservations. The Office of Natural Resource Revenue brought together government, tribes and the energy industry to write the new rule. 

Claire Ware is the Director of the Shoshone-Arapahoe Tribes Minerals Compliance Program and sat on the committee.  She says the old rules put tribes at a disadvantage.   

“They do not know where their oil’s going.  They do not know whether they’re getting the right price or if it’s fair.  For the royalty owner, I think they would feel ensured that, hey, this is the proposed rule for our leases here.  We’re going to get paid for our major portion price which is based on index for this area.”

The government has struggled in the past to meet a legal obligation to get a fair price for tribal resources.  Ware says companies were allowed to set the price of oil, often at lower than market value.  The new rule bases the price of oil on the highest producing fields.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.
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