“I have to wonder: will the BIA and DOI enforce these new policies when they’ve failed this far to enforce their old ones?” asked Nona Roach, an independent oil and gas accountant from Avant, Okla., whose Osage County property has been impacted by drill sites.
Managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Osage Nation’s $4 billion mineral estate is the largest single-owner mineral estate in the country. In 2009 alone, more than 4 million barrels of oil were produced in the county, third most of Oklahoma’s 77 counties.
In addition to the duties assigned to any other BIA agency office, the Osage Agency is also responsible for processing and issuing drilling permits to oil and natural gas producers attempting to do business in Osage County. Established as part of a $380 million settlement of a federal lawsuit alleging mismanagement of the Osage Nation’s 1.4 million acre mineral estate, the Osage Negotiating Rulemaking Committee is part of a two-year process to review and update the policies concerning oil and natural gas drilled within the Osage Nation’s boundaries in northern Oklahoma.