Mineral Acres under Lake Sakakawea
A Review of the History of these 152,360 Acres
Original contract between the US Government and the Three Affiliated Tribes (P. L. 296, July 31, 1947) contained Art. XII, Reservation of Minerals.
HJ Res. 33, June 6, 1949, provided for the retention of minerals by tribe, allottees and heirs “as their interests now appear”. This provision was deleted by US Senate.
152,360 acres of land (surface and minerals) taken from Fort Berthold landowners for the Garrison Dam by PL 437 (Oct. 29, 1949)
Appraisers completed appraisals of “land, improvements, severance damages, minerals and timber” within taking area of Garrison Dam in June, 1950. Little or no value was placed on “minerals, including coal” on Indian land
Payments of “flood money” paid out to tribal members beginning April 1951
On October 26, 1951, Corps of Engineers discontinued their policy of taking mineral rights. After that time, landowners were able to reserve their mineral rights on land taken for the Garrison Dam. This was a little bit too late for Fort Berthold landowners who had unwillingly sold their rights to their land and minerals during the appraisal process in June 1950.
In 1951, tribal leaders introduce S. 3303 in the 81st Congress for restoration of minerals to original landowners. Never succeeded in getting a hearing.
In 1951, S. 1830 to introduced to return rights to Fort Berthold people
In 1954, S. 2812 was introduced to “provide for the return to the former Indian owners and their successors an interest of certain lands acquired in connection with the Garrison Dam and Reservoir Project of all oil and gas rights and interest in such lands”
In 1955, S. 746 was introduced to provide for the return of mineral rights to the former owners
For the next 30 years, efforts to secure return of minerals to landowners were unsuccessful.
In 1984, PL 98-602, the Fort Berthold Reservation Mineral Restoration Act was passed which restored the minerals acres to the Three Affiliated Tribes. The original provisions which read “to provide for the return to the former Indian owners and their successors…all oil and gas right and interest in such lands” were omitted from P.L. 98-602.
As of this date, December, 2010, the former owners and/or their successors have not had their mineral rights restored to them. The 152,000 acres of minerals underlying Lake Sakakawea are now valuable property with the discovery of oil in the Bakken Formation. Large blocks of these minerals are being leased to various oil companies by the current Tribal Council.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Oklahoma-based energy producer Williams Companies Inc. said it plans to spend $925 million to acquire oil fields on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
The move to buy nearly 86,000 acres from private owners will give the company a major position in the booming Bakken shale area.
The area being acquired contains an estimated 185 million barrels of oil and gas and 24 existing wells that produce 3,300 barrels per day. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
This story is from the Bismarck tribune and according to the figures we are going to lose 925 million dollars. What this company doesn't realize is these minerals don't belong to the tribe they belong to individual landowners who had their minerals taken when they flooded Elbowoods for the Dam. Click on the Link to see who the real owners are and use the magnifier to see the names.
Williams Companies also has moved into Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale area, accumulating about 100,000 acres over the past year and a half. By 2013, about 25 percent of the company's exploration and production revenue is expected to come from oil production, up from 7 percent now.