Community , Minerals Council , Legal

ON Attorney General opinion sought on questions of potential conflict of interest

Photo caption: Osage Minerals Councilman Paul Revard shares his thoughts on the campaign trail on April 21 at the United Osages of Southern California spring gathering. OMC Chairwoman Marsha Harlan has asked the ON Attorney General to weigh in on Revard’s ability to vote on oil production matters. BENNY POLACCA/Osage News 

The Osage Nation’s attorney general’s office is being asked to weigh in on potential conflicts of interest involving a new member of the Minerals Council.

At the July 18 meeting, Osage Minerals Council Chairwoman Marsha Harlan announced that she has submitted a formal request to the Office of the Attorney General on whether Councilman Paul Revard must recuse himself on oil production votes.

“The question was very limited,” Harlan said. “I did not want the AG to go off into other areas and find other conflicts … and if so, what could he do to remedy the conflict if she finds that one exists.”

One of five new members elected in June, Revard has worked in oil and gas exploration for 40 years and owns an independent petroleum exploration company.  While on the campaign trail, he said he would recuse himself from any votes that could directly impact his business.

“Almost anything and everything that’s come before this council so far has had to deal with oil and gas leases,” he said. “If I have to recuse myself on those issues … I don’t see how I’ll be able to vote on anything for four years.”

While the council waits on an opinion, it will proceed with a lease sale on Sept. 26, a three-week delay from the initially slated date. The Third Minerals Council passed a resolution in January calling for sales on the first Wednesday of each quarter.

With only a handful of leases nominated as of July 18, the delay comes in part to accommodate a request from the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Pawhuska Agency to have at least 90 days’ notice. The delay will allow time for the agency to publish a formal call for nominations and notify operators as needed.

Future sales may involve new lease language and royalty rates, as several council members called the current terms outdated and antiquated.

“I’d hate to sell any more leases with bad contract language,” Councilwoman Susan Forman said. “It hurts us.”