Environment | Politics

North Dakota tribe threatens to walk away from energy tax deal

Chairman Mark Fox of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. Photo: MHA Tribal Chairman Mark N. Fox

The Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation is considering its options as lawmakers in North Dakota move forward with an energy tax bill that affects the tribe's revenues.

The tribe and the state share taxes from oil development on the Fort Berthold Reservation. But lawmakers reduced the rates imposed on developers in 2015, depriving the tribe of some of its revenues.

Lawmakers are now considering a new bill that would impose a flat tax structure and eliminate bonuses that both the tribe and the state have enjoyed. That has the tribe prepared to walk away from the original deal.

“We’re not bluffing," Chairman Mark Fox told lawmakers on Tuesday, according to news reports.

Oil from Fort Berthold accounted about 17 percent of the state's production in just one month last fall, The Jamestown Sun reported. So the state could lose a significant share of revenues if the agreement comes to an end or if the tribe pursues litigation or other remedies.

Separately, the tribe has pushed the Bureau of Indian Affairs to prevent the state from imposing taxes on its reservation. An update to the Indian Trader Regulations is in the works at the agency.

Fox has said that the tribe has been forced to share more than $1 billion in revenues over the last few years with the state.

Read More on the Story:
Tribe threatens to leave oil tax agreement with ND (The Jamestown Sun 1/11)
Tribes threaten to pull out of oil tax agreement with North Dakota (AP 1/10)
Tribe may walk from state-tribal revenue agreement (The Bismarck Tribune 1/10)

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