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State fires back in dispute with tribe over mineral rights

Roughly $100 million in royalties and payments due to drilling efforts could be in play,...
Roughly $100 million in royalties and payments due to drilling efforts could be in play, depending on the final outcome.(KFYR-TV)
Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 7:49 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - UPDATE 9 p.m. Friday: MHA Nation Chairman Mark Fox released a brief statement Friday night in reaction to the state’s motion:

“It was not unexpected that the state would oppose us, for their own purpose and reasons.”

ORIGINAL STORY: The state of North Dakota said Friday it filed motion in federal court to intervene in the MHA Nation’s lawsuit asserting ownership of the historical riverbed of the Missouri River within the boundaries of the Fort Berthold Reservation.

Roughly $100 million in royalties and payments due to drilling efforts could be in play, depending on the final outcome.

In a release sent out Friday, the state said:

“The State has never relinquished its claim to the historical riverbed, which it acquired at statehood in 1889 under the equal footing doctrine, which provides that a state entering the Union retains title to the beds of navigable rivers and lakes within the state, unless Congress has expressly designated otherwise. The claim applies only to the historical riverbed of the Missouri River, not the entirety of the bed of Lake Sakakawea.”

An interior ruling earlier this year reversed a Trump-era ruling giving rights to the state, and gave the rights to the tribe.

Related content:

Biden solicitor swings mineral rights title back to tribes

MHA Nation leadership praises U.S. Interior ruling on mineral rights

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