Environment | National

DOI defends inclusion of Indian lands in fracking regulation





The Interior Department maintains it has broad authority to regulate "all" oil and gas activity, including hydraulic fracturing, on Indian lands.

Some tribes complained about the inclusion of Indian lands in the proposed regulation, which was published in the Federal Register by the Bureau of Land Management today. But DOI said it is not possible for tribes to opt out.

"Regarding Indian lands, the BLM fully embraces the statutes, Executive Orders, and other statements of governmental or departmental policy in favor of promoting tribal self-determination and control of resources," the notice states. "The Indian Mineral Leasing Act (IMLA), however, subjects all oil and gas operations on trust or restricted Indian lands to the Secretary's regulations and does not authorize the Secretary to allow tribes to opt out of these regulations."

H.R.1548, the Native American Energy Act, bars DOI from regulating fracking on Indian lands without the "express consent" of the tribe or the individual Indian owner. The Obama administration opposes the bill, a Bureau of Indian Affairs official said at at hearing on April 26.

Comments on the fracking regulation are being accepted until June 24.

Get the Story:
New rules to address fracking on Indian lands (The Navajo Times 5/23)

Federal Register Notice:
Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands (May 24, 2013)

Related Stories:
DOI releases update to fracking regulation on Indian lands (5/16)
House Natural Resources Committee hearing on fracking rule (5/6)
Report warns of threats from fracking to water supply in West (5/2)
Audio from House subcommittee hearing on Indian energy bill (4/26)
Coalition of Large Tribes criticizes DOI regulation for fracking (5/10)