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OETA in Osage County: Finds Frustrated Cattlemen, No Answers from BIA

Filed by KOSU News in State Impact.
March 5, 2013

Osage County is the only county in Oklahoma that isn’t monitored by the Corporation Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator.¬†Mineral rights in Osage County are held in a federal trust for the Osage Nation, and oil and gas drilling is regulated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Landowners and the tribe say the BIA isn’t doing a very good job monitoring environmental and health issues related to drilling in Osage County.

Last week, OETA reporter Lis Exon traveled to Pawhuska to attend a rule-making meeting. Her crew was barred from recording video of the public meeting, and a BIA attorney wouldn’t allow Exon to interview any of the committee members.

Landowners have reported cattle deaths from hydrogen sulfide gas they say is leaking from oil and gas wells. Other landowners say improperly managed high-voltage electrical lines from oil and gas operations have sparked fires, OETA reports.

The BIA didn’t respond to a Journal Record request for comment for a story on the situation that was published on Feb. 8.

The Osage Negotiated Rulemaking Commitee was created in June 2012 to “address future management and administration of the Osage Mineral Estate, including potential revisions to the regulations governing leasing of¬†Osage Reservation lands for oil and gas mining,” according to the Federal Register.

The committee’s meetings are public, but citizens must register to attend. StateImpact couldn’t find any language in the Federal Register that disallows recording of the meeting.

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