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Osage Agency to implement Call Center to track complaints

By

Shannon Shaw Duty

After a tumultuous Negotiated Rulemaking Committee meeting Jan. 25, where landowner after landowner said their complaints fell on deaf ears at the Osage Agency, a solution may be near.

Acting BIA Osage Agency Superintendent Rhonda Loftin said at a Feb. 20 Osage Minerals Council meeting that the Agency is implementing a tracking system for every complaint made, to track the problem from beginning to end.

“Someone had asked for a list of all the complaints that are coming in and we are working on that right now, I haven’t provided that to you, because we are working on implementing a tracking system database that will track from beginning to end each complaint. What the complaint was, where it was, what the problem is, and how quickly we reacted to those problems, everything,” Loftin said. “This tracking system will be inclusive of all of that. So as soon as we implement that you guys will really like to see that. You can pull reports from it; you can add forms in it. So we’re actually excited about this database.”

For decades landowners allege they have had little to no recourse when an oil company comes on their land and violates the Code of Federal Regulations. The CFRs govern all activity, including oil and natural gas drilling, on the Osage Minerals Estate and the minerals estate makes up the subsurface of Osage County. The BIA processes and issues drilling permits for oil producers drilling in Osage County.

As well as implementing a tracking system database, Loftin said they will also implement a hotline for all complaints.

“We’re talking about inputting a hotline number, we’re talking about implementing a call center that is inclusive in working with this tracking system. A person would take all calls, input all the information in and it will immediately send it out to all the field men and they will add what they did into that tracking system after they’ve done their part of it,” she said.

Osage shareholder, Stephanie Erwin, asked Loftin if the complaints addressed would only be specific to oil and gas. Loftin said it would be all complaints.

“Right now we’re talking about landowners claims, it may include all complaints. We’re still inputting in it, what we want it to be inclusive of. It may be all complaints. If we have a call center then we want it to include all complaints,” Loftin said.

OMC Chairman Galen Crum approved of the idea.

“Sounds good, we’ve needed something like that for a long time, obviously from what we’ve heard,” Galen Crum.

Loftin is filling in for Osage Agency Superintendent Melissa Currey who is on leave for 120 days. Currey has worked for the Osage Agency for 28 years and has been the superintendent since November of 2004.

The Negotiated Rulemaking Committee (NRC) has been charged with updating the CFRs as a part of the 2011 Osage Trust Case settlement that gave the BIA two years to improve things in the Osage. In 2011 the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled and awarded the Osage approximately $330 million for the historical losses to its trust funds and interest income as a result of government mismanagement of trust assets for claims arising from 1972 to 2000.

The NRC is made up of BIA officials and members of the Osage Minerals Council. The NRC has been meeting since August of 2012.

The NRC will be meeting Feb. 25-27 at the Wah-Zha-Zhi Cultural Center. The meetings are public.


Original Publish Date: 2013-02-24 00:00:00

Author

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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Dutyhttps://osagenews.org

Title: Editor

Email: sshaw@osagenation-nsn.gov

Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.
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