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BIA tells oil company to stop drilling on Inupiat land



The Bureau of Indian Affairs ordered a major energy company to stop using an Alaska Native allotment for development.

BP says it suspended drilling on the 40-acre Inupiat allotment last year as a result of a court case. The heirs of Andrew Oenga are happy with the move because they say they company has cheated them out of millions of dollars.

Oenga was an Inupiat whale hunter who needed an interpreter to sign a lease with BP. He agreed to $16,000 plus a $25,000 signing bonus in 1989.

After he died, his heirs negotiated a new lease for $80,000 a year. But they say BP is using their land to tap major oil deposits and has allowed other companies to trespass.

Oenga's heirs filed a lawsuit against the BIA in hopes of collecting larger payments. Their lawyer says the family is owed $80 million.

Get the Story:
Inupiat hunter's heirs strike blow against BP (The Anchorage Daily News 1/19)