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Tribes, BIA and BLM collaborate on oil, gas operations

Mar 10, 2014 - From staff reports

The Arapaho and Shoshone tribes and the Department of the Interior, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Land Management, signed a memorandum of understanding Feb. 25 in Fort Washakie.

Through the MOU, the parties said they will engage in a cooperative environmental program to promote compliance on oil and gas properties by lessees and operators on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

"This MOU is a good opportunity for all of us to start fresh, to be on the same page and to work toward the same goals," said BIA acting Rocky Mountain regional director Darryl LaCounte.

Specifically, the MOU outlines a process and timelines for the parties to:

- review all ongoing oil and gas operations on the reservation with tribal ownership interest to identify actual or potential adverse environmental effects;

- identify prospective sources of federal funding to the tribes to support monitoring, inspection and enforcement;

- develop an environmental plan for oil and gas operations; and

- formalize a structure for future communications between the parties regarding environmental concerns arising from oil and gas operations.

"We look forward to working collaboratively with the Arapaho and Shoshone tribes, as well as with the BIA, to manage oil and gas activities on the Wind River Indian Reservation," said BLM Wyoming state director Don Simpson.

For more information, call BIA realty officer Marietta Shortbull at 332-4639 or BLM resource adviser Stuart Cerovski at 332-8400.