Osage Minerals Council’s TERA task force is getting off the ground.
Although its schedule is still in flux, the Osage Minerals Council agreed at its Sept. 16 meeting to have the task force charged with researching a potential Tribal Energy Rights Agreement to start digging in on the questions and specifics on what such an agreement would look like for the Osage mineral estate.
“I’m 50/50 on this, but I’m willing to put the work in and do the research on this,” Councilwoman Margo Gray said.
First approved in 2005, a TERA between a tribe and the Department of Interior allows a tribe to review, approve and manage leases, business agreements and rights of way for energy development on tribal land without having to go through the Secretary of Interior every step of the way.
Several questions are still pending since the federal government updated the rules regarding TERA in late 2019. Among the more prominent unknowns include a complete list of what functions a tribe can legally take over from the federal government and how much funding will be made available to offset the costs associated with taking on those additional tasks.
“Whether we decide to do it or not … it’s going to take a significant amount of money,” Councilman Paul Revard said, noting that permitting and other related functions through the state of Oklahoma cost more than $15 million annually. “I don’t see any point moving forward with a TERA without the funding and I kinda doubt the federal government is going to give us $15-$20 million.
“The funding is the first thing we need to be pursuing.”
The task force was created at the council’s July meeting with seven of the eight members of the Osage Minerals Council serving on it, along with representatives from the executive and legislative branches. The lone voluntary exception is Councilwoman Marsha Harlan, who has requested to receive regular updates.