Native Sun News: Company fined for oil spills affecting reservations

BNSF Railway Company train derailed on May 12, 2010, along the Wind River, just a few miles from the border of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. BNSF agreed to pay a civil penalty of $600,000 for the spill and three others, including one that impacted Lake Oahe, which is located on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation and the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, and another one that affected the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. Still image from cbeng3001 / YouTube

BSNF Railway to pay penalty for spill in Oahe Reservoir
EPA announces enhanced consultation with tribes on treaty rights
By Talli Nauman
Native Sun News
Health & Environment Editor

MOBRIDGE –– In two separate actions during the last week of February, the Environmental Protection Agency addressed Indian tribes’ environmental issues. The agency announced that BSNF Railway Co. has agreed to pay a $600,000 penalty, for locomotive spills of oil in the Oahe Reservoir at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, as well as elsewhere; and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed guidelines for enhanced consultation on treaty rights.

The guidelines direct EPA staff to ask the following questions during tribal consultations: “Do treaties exist within a specific geographic area? What treaty rights exist in, or what treaty-protected resources rely upon, the specific geographic area? How are treaty rights potentially affected by the proposed action?”

EPA has made “substantive changes” to the guidelines “as a result of the comments received” from federally recognized tribes, tribal consortia, and tribal organizations during an August – November 2015 consultation and outreach period, the agency said in presenting the document on Feb. 23.

Read the rest of the story on the all new Native Sun News website: BSNF Railway to pay penalty for spill in Oahe Reservoir

(Contact Talli Nauman, NSN Health and Environment Editor at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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