Government , Minerals Council

Minerals Council to consider Tribal Energy Resource Agreement

The Osage Minerals Council is looking to get by with a little help from their friends.

At the end of its June 19 meeting, the Minerals Council voted 7-0 to extend an invitation to the legislative branch to meet this month regarding a potential tribal energy resource agreement.

Councilor Marsha Harlan was absent.

“They’re (Congress) going to have to help us with laws to specify certain issues,” Chairman Everett Waller said. “We’re on top of this, we just can’t make comments on this yet.”

First established under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a TERA provides a tribe with the authority to review, approve and manage leases, right-of-way agreements and business agreements for energy development on tribal lands without the Secretary of the Interior’s approval.

The terms were overhauled in late 2018 to address tribal concerns regarding maintaining federal trust responsibilities while allowing tribes to better manage their properties. It also added funding provisions to cover the costs associated with tribes taking on duties once handled by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Council members reiterated that if the OMC were to pursue a TERA, it would not be the same thing as compacting any services nor would it provide a window for the federal government to shirk its trust obligation to the mineral estate.

“For our constituents … one of the primary concerns a lot of us had was whether entertaining the idea of a TERA, whether or not we would lose our trust protection,” Councilor Paul Revard said. “It was addressed not only by our counsel, Wilson Pipestem, but the chief’s counsel. They pointed out to us the numerous places where it fell back on the amended 1906 Act and specifically addressed this. The federal government will still have the trust responsibility.”