Melissa Currey, a candidate for the 5th Osage Minerals Council, told attendees at a campaign dinner April 10 in Wakon Iron Hall, that her experience working at the BIA’s Osage Agency for more than 28 years made her an invaluable asset to the council.
Currey said she began a career with the BIA in 1984, where she worked in multiple departments, specifically realty and minerals. She rose to the ranks as a supervisor, a specialist and then became Superintendent before she ended her tenure. She now works for the Nation as the Real Estate Services director.
“As superintendent, I had a quality staff under me. I had an excellent engineering staff, and we were approving hundreds of drilling permits every month,” Currey said of the late 2010s. “As superintendent, I worked with the Osage Minerals Council and we sat down together and planned … things that we could do to bring the lessees in and get the payments up and keep them up, keep production up.”
“I bring this up because I don’t see that today, I don’t see the collaboration.”
She said the BIA is holding all the council’s records, including their production and well data. This makes it hard for the council to conduct business.
“One of the first things we can do as a Minerals Council is get our data back and get it in a usable format and not just a box of paper. We can digitize those records and there’s a lot we can do with our GIS and other software systems,” she said. “That will be one of my top priorities.”
Her second priority will be the oil and gas regulations. She said she is aware that the OMC has hired an attorney to write oil and gas regulations and she has experience in that department.
“At some point, we’re going to have to negotiate those regs with the BIA. There’s going to have to be some kind of discussion, some kind of meeting, there will have to be some kind of negotiation there,” she said.
She said there hasn’t been a very good accounting since 2012. She’s hearing a lot of that from shareholders and the last two years she knows there hasn’t been anyone out in the field except for “one little land guy.”
“As a former Minerals Councilman, this lady has done her homework,” said Sonny Abbott, who served on the 2nd Osage Minerals Council. “Everything she said is right on and needs to be done.”
Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear attended the dinner and spoke in support of Currey to the attendees. “When you go talk to the BIA, and you talk to their solicitors, which is the worst place to be, you’re going to find out they’re just about delay. And the next thing you know two years goes by, then three years goes by, then four years goes by and then our people get frustrated, and they take it out on leadership and the minerals council, I see it all the time and so have you,” he said. “She knows about it and we need to get on it, and we’re all going to help her, we’re going to help her get elected, I’ve been talking to my family and friends and we’re all behind her.”