The Osage Minerals Council voted unanimously to help an Osage elder whose property now has an impassable road due to poor maintenance by the oil and gas companies using it. However, there were questions by council members if OMC has the authority to interject in the situation.
“I just question our authority to be involved in this particular controversy,” said Councilman Paul Revard.
Chairman Everett Waller explained, “If the efforts are used by the oil companies, they do have to keep it repaired. And, that would be my only consideration ... No, I wouldn't involve ourselves, it would be back to the Nation as a property owner under the Nation.”
Oil and gas companies producing on Osage land are responsible for fixing any roads damaged by the company during production. Waller, formally an inspector, offered to look at the road in question to determine the usage of the road.
Waller told the council, “That's [usage] what I'm going to first look at. It's a big difference [between] a feed truck and them bringing in units.”
Councilman Talee Redcorn gave credit to the property owner stating, Osage elders don’t act without considering all involved when asking for OMC to help. Redcorn brought up a different time he dealt with a similar issue.
“The last time I dealt with this, I felt like the property was being wronged by all the oil and gas activity out there. And I specifically felt that they targeted Indian land to put all their equipment on. And this area was an area where there was a lot of development around that area,” Redcorn said.
The motion made by Councilwoman Marsha Harlan would allow the minerals council to reach out to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and to the company in charge of maintaining the road on behalf of the fellow tribal member. The council wished to show support for the need to maintain the property.
Redcorn stated, “I just want to make sure that, you know, when we have production out there, we protect our Osage people out there. And if there's anything going on like this, we need to address it.”
“I'm going to give everybody the benefit of the doubt. I just wanted to make sure that we hear our constituents, and we try our best to help them in any manner,” Waller added.