The seal of the Pawnee Nation. Photo: Pawnee Nation
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Pawnee Nation seeks earthquake damages from energy companies in tribal court





The Pawnee Nation is attempting to hold the energy industry accountable for damage suffered during a 2016 earthquake.

The tribe is suing multiple oil and gas companies in its court system, Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton reported in The Tulsa World in March. The lawsuit alleges the September 3, 2016, quake caused by the industry's activities in Oklahoma.

“We are a sovereign nation and we have the rule of law here,” said Andrew Knife Chief, the tribe's executive director, told The Associated Press after the lawsuit was filed. “We’re using our tribal laws, our tribal processes, to hold these guys accountable.”

Generally, tribes lack jurisdiction over non-Indian entities. But the U.S. Supreme Court, in a decision known as Montana v. United States, recognized an exception in situations where the "political integrity, the economic security, or the health or welfare" of a tribe is threatened.

According to the Poynter Law Group, which is representing the tribe, the jurisdiction issue has indeed been raised by the non-Indian defendants. But a judge on the tribe's court agreed to move forward with the case after hearing arguments on October 27, the firm said.

The 5.8 magnitude quake caused damage to several tribal properties in Pawnee.

Read More on the Story:
Pawnee earthquake suit given go-ahead in tribal court (The Cleveland American November 1, 2017)
Pawnee Nation sues oil and gas producers it blames for 5.8 earthquake (The Tulsa World March 4, 2017)
Pawnee Nation Sues Oklahoma Oil Companies in Tribal Court Over Earthquake Damage (The Associated Press March 4, 2017)
Pawnee Nation aims to set precedent with earthquake damage suit (CNHI News Oklahoma March 3, 2017)
Tribe sues energy companies over earthquakes (KFOR March 3, 2017)
Pawnee Nation Files Earthquake Lawsuit Against 2 Oil Companies (News on 6 March 3, 2017)

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Pawnee Nation reports more extensive damage from earthquake (September 7, 2016)