Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Monday, July 18, 2016
Indian Land Oil and Gas Development and The Bureau of Land Management’s Mishandling of Royalty Payments to Indian Tribes
Indian Land Oil and Gas Development
and The Bureau of Land Management’s
Mishandling of Royalty Payments to Indian Tribes
Background of Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) management of gas and oil drilling on Indian land.
The development of Indian-owned oil and gas resources is one of the largest revenue generators in Indian country, and individual Indian mineral owners may rely on royalty payments from such development to pay for living expenses. Various offices within the Department of the Interior are responsible for management and oversight of oil and gas development on Indian lands. In some cases, Indian-owned resources cannot be developed independently. In those cases, BLM reviews a revenue- sharing agreement known as a communization agreement or CA, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) approves it.
Source: 2016 GAO Report Indian Affairs Revenue Sharing
Current Status of Oil and Gas Development on Indian Lands
“In 2012 alone, energy and mineral resources generated over $701 million in royalty revenue paid to Indian mineral owners. Income from energy and minerals is by far the largest source of revenue generated from Trust lands. In the last three years, agencies working with BIA realty staff has assisted Tribes in the negotiation of 48 leases for oil and gas, totaling approximately 2,750,000 acres and about $45 million in bonuses. These leases have the potential to additionally produce over $20 billion in revenue to the Indian mineral owner over the life of the lease through royalties and working interests. In 2013, BIA estimates Indian Royalty to be approximately $900 million, and within two years, estimates royalty income will increase to over $1 billion.”
Source: BIA Oil and Gas Development Report
“Domestic onshore oil and gas development is governed by a framework of federal, state, tribal, and local laws and regulations, including the BLM, the BIA, and the Office of Natural Resource Revenue (ONRR), as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). State regulatory agencies have responsibility for oversight and management of oil and gas development on federal or Indian lands. BLM has overseen the development of federal and Indian oil and gas resources for decades and is responsible for ensuring that these resources are developed in a timely, economically efficient, and environmentally sound manner.
BLM’s responsibilities include reviewing drilling plans and issuing permits for wells developing federal and Indian resources; inspecting wells to ensure compliance with environmental, safety, and other regulations; approving revenue- sharing agreements like the CA’s for federal and Indian resources; and ensuring the maximum recovery of federal and Indian resources.”
Source: 2016 GAO Indian Energy Development Full Report
Oil and Gas Resource Ownership in the United States
“The United States has a unique legal and political relationship with Indian tribes and Alaska Native entities as provided by the Constitution of the United States, treaties, court decisions and Federal statutes. Within the government-to-government relationship, Indian Affairs provides services directly or through contracts, grants, or compacts to 567 Federally recognized tribes with a service population of about 1.9 million American Indian and Alaska Natives. While the role of Indian Affairs has changed significantly in the last three decades in response to a greater emphasis on Indian self-governance and self-determination, Tribes still look to Indian Affairs for a broad spectrum of services.
Programs administered through the Bureau of Indian Affairs include social services, natural resources management on trust lands representing 55 million surface acres and 57 million acres of subsurface minerals estates, economic development programs in some of the most isolated and economically depressed areas of the United States.”
Current Issues with Distributing Royalties to Indian Tribes in a Timely Manner
“In fiscal year 2015, the development of Indian-owned oil and gas resources generated more than $1 billion in revenue for tribes and individual Indian mineral owners, according to the Department of the Interior, making oil and gas resources one of the largest revenue generators in Indian country. For some tribes, energy development is the foundation of their economy and the primary source of funding for education, infrastructure, and other public services. In addition, according to a report by Interior, individual Indian oil and gas resource owners rely on revenue from oil and gas development to pay for living expenses, such as food, shelter, health care, and education.
The development of Indian oil and gas resources is governed by a number of federal laws, such as the Indian Mineral Leasing Act. To promote conservation and efficient utilization of minerals, Interior approves CAs when an Indian lease cannot be independently developed and operated in conformity with established well spacing rules. In these cases, leases are consolidated to form a single spacing unit, and a CA is established to identify production allocation for the purpose of distributing revenue from oil and gas development in the form of royalties based on each mineral owner’s percentage of ownership in that unit. Without an approved CA, royalties cannot be distributed to individual Indian mineral owners.
In recent years, advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, along with favorable economic conditions, resulted in significant increases in oil and gas development from shale formations, according to Interior and the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration. Although prices for crude oil and natural gas have since declined, the leasing of Indian oil and gas resources continues in some areas of the country, as evidenced by ongoing lease sales held by BIA agency offices. According to a report by Interior, BIA has struggled to keep up with the demand for oil and gas leasing, permitting, and drilling. The number of CA applications submitted has surpassed BIA’s and BLM’s ability to review and approve them in some areas of the country. For example, one oil and gas operator told us that during the boom period they held almost $7 million in oil and gas royalties in an escrow account for Indian mineral owners because BIA and BLM delays in processing the CAs prevented ONRR from accepting payments from operators for the distribution of royalties to Indian mineral owners.
Our past reports have highlighted the importance of Interior’s role in the management and oversight of federal and Indian energy resources and identified some challenges with the current system. In a May 2014 report, we found that BLM was not able to review CAs within required time frames, creating delays in the payment of royalties to the federal government, tribes, and individual Indian mineral owners. In that report, we recommended that Interior identify and take necessary steps to ensure that CAs are reviewed within required time frames, and Interior generally agreed with our recommendation. In addition, in a June 2015 report, we found that BIA could not ensure that its review process for energy-related documents was transparent or that such documents were moving forward in a timely manner. In that report, we recommended that Interior improve its review process by developing a documented process to track its review and response times. Interior did not fully concur with our recommendation, but stated in a letter to us in August 2015 that BIA would try to implement a tracking and monitoring effort within its system of records for oil and gas leasing documents.
In this context, you asked us to examine Interior’s review and approval process for CAs that include Indian leases. This report examines the actions Interior has taken to improve the timeliness of its review and approval of Indian CAs and the results of these actions.
We also examined laws and regulations that pertain to Interior’s role in the review and approval of Indian CAs. We interviewed BIA, BLM, ONRR, and other Interior officials at the headquarters and field levels who were familiar with the former CA review and approval process, as well as the proposed changes to this process. We selected officials from BIA and BLM field offices from various areas of the country that experienced a surge in oil development, which could result in an increase in demand for the review and approval of CAs.” Source: 2016 GAO Indian Energy Development Full Report
Increased Level of Support to Tribes and Individual Indian Mineral Owners
The main issues facing Indian Tribes and BIA agency staff are how to keep up with the demand for leasing, permitting and drilling. A taste of things to come has already occurred in development of the prolific Bakken shale oil play at the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota. There was a severe backlog of leases and permits being issued which forestalled the generation of income to the Indian mineral owners. BIA agency and DEMD staff have worked to eliminating this backlog by providing an experienced engineer and by hiring five additional staff to supplement BIA realty staff. By working together BIA and DEMD has been able to physically place a team of technical staff at the reservation to provide on‐site services. Staff functions included realty specialists, environmental specialists and petroleum engineers.
The level of drilling activity continues to increase from 150 wells drilled to 200 additional wells planned. That represents a doubling of work load that is expected to continue, with development rates leveling off to 100 wells per year over the next 5 years.
Source: BIA Oil and Gas Development Report
“In conclusion, BIA and BLM issued revised guidance in an effort to streamline the review and approval process for Indian CAs. However, a number of factors will limit BIA’s ability to ensure that the resulting actions have had a positive effect on the process and lead to the more timely review and approval of Indian CAs. Specifically, as Interior has not established required time frames by which an Indian CA should be reviewed and approved, BIA will be limited in its ability to hold offices accountable to ensure that Indian CAs are reviewed and approved in a timely manner. In addition, because BIA does not have a systematic mechanism to track an Indian CA through the process, it will be unable to fulfill its monitoring role to ensure that CAs are reviewed and approved in a timely manner. Finally, because Interior does not have a plan to assess the results of its revised guidance on the Indian CA process, the agency will be unable to determine whether it has achieved its policy objectives, such as decreasing the time needed to review and approve Indian CAs, designed to result in the more timely disbursement of royalties to Indian mineral owners. Without the ability to assess the effect of its revised guidance on the Indian CA review and approval process, Interior may not have enough information to make further improvements, if needed, to the process.”
Source: 2016 GAO Indian Energy Development Full Report
Monday, May 23, 2016
Criminology Term Paper
"Native American Tribal Police"
"Native American Tribal Police"
Though often cast aside and treated as sub humans in history, the people of Native American tribes have remained a solid and well established part of this country. In addition, the Native American Tribal Police offer an authentic contribution to the history of police in the United States that is often overlooked at purely medicinal and magic based. Furthermore, the Navajo Nation Police contributes the largest independent force on tribal land, and the contributions of the Navajo people in general helped to win World War II for the United States.
On a personal note, I was surprised to discover in my initial research that the US Government still used the term “Indian” to describe the people of the Native American lands.
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of 55,700,000 acres of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American Tribes and Alaska Natives.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is one of two bureaus under the jurisdiction of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs: the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Bureau of Indian Education, which provides education services to approximately 48,000 Native Americans.
The BIA serves the 567 federally recognized tribes through four offices:
The Office of Indian Services: They operate the BIA’s general assistance, disaster relief, Indian child welfare, tribal government, Indian Self-Determination, and Indian Reservation Roads Program.
The Office of Justice Services (OJS): They operate or funds law enforcement, tribal courts, and detention facilities on federal Indian lands. OJS funded 208 law enforcement agencies, consisting of 43 BIA-operated police agencies, and 165 tribally operated agencies under contract, or compact with the OJS. The office has seven areas of activity: Criminal Investigations and Police Services, Detention/Corrections, Inspection/Internal Affairs, Tribal Law Enforcement and Special Initiatives, the Indian Police Academy, Tribal Justice Support, and Program Management. The OJS also provides oversight and technical assistance to tribal law enforcement programs when and where requested. It operates four divisions: Corrections, Drug Enforcement, the Indian Police Academy, and Law Enforcement.
The Office of Trust Services: They work with tribes and individual American Indians and Alaska Natives in the management of their trust lands, assets, and resources.
The Office of Field Operations: They oversee 12 regional offices; Alaska, Great Plains, Northwest, Southern Plains, Eastern, Navajo, Pacific, Southwest, Eastern Oklahoma, Midwest, Rocky Mountain, and Western; and 83 agencies, which carry out the mission of the Bureau at the tribal level.
The BIA- OJS is responsible for the protection of lives, resources, and property which lies at the heart of the BIA's law enforcement effort. BIA-OJS fully supports the Secretary's ongoing commitment to safe and healthy Indian communities. Under the direction of the Deputy BIA Director , OJS is responsible for the overall management of the Bureau's law enforcement program. Its main goal is to uphold the constitutional sovereignty of the Federally recognized Tribes and preserve peace within Indian country.
The office has six areas of activity:
Criminal Investigations and Police Services
Detention/Corrections, Inspection/Internal Affairs
Tribal Law Enforcement and Special Initiatives
The Indian Police Academy
Tribal Justice Support
The OJS also provides oversight and technical assistance to tribal law enforcement programs when and where requested. The OJS has primary responsibility for the investigation of crimes that occur in Indian country. Currently the office develops standards, policies and procedures for BIA-wide implementation, operates the Indian Police Academy, monitors tribally contracted justice services programs, directly operates law enforcement programs for tribes who do not run their own programs, conducts inspections and evaluation of BIA and Tribal Justice Services programs, conducts internal investigations of misconduct by law enforcement officers, provides emergency tactical response teams to reservations requiring assistance, or threatened with disruptions or civil disorder, conducts criminal investigations into criminal violations committed on reservations involving Federal, State, County, Local and Tribal codes.
Indian Country Corrections is one of the key components of Tribal Justice Systems. There are over 90 detention centers throughout Indian Country, of which, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Office of Justice Services staffs and operates a quarter of these facilities. Each facility is unique in operation and location. The BIA Corrections also operates transport programs for movement of inmates for certain locations as well as assist with long range transports, movement of inmates during evacuations, overcrowding and as needed. The ultimate mission of BIA/OJS Corrections is ensuring Indian Country facilities are operated in a safe, secure, and humane manner.
The BIA Correctional Program provides Technical Assistance to all detention programs, including tribal detention programs.
Bureau of Indian Affairs Police
The Bureau of Indian Affairs Police, known as the BIA Police, is the law enforcement arm of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs which polices Indian tribes and reservations that do not have their own police force, and oversees other tribal police organizations. BIA Police services are provided through the Office of Justice Services Division of Law Enforcement.
A BIA Police Officer is a federal police officer who enforces federal law relating to Indian Country. The BIA has nationwide jurisdiction to enforce federal law relating to crimes committed within or involving Indian Country and officers are usually found near the various Indian reservations. BIA Police Officers may enforce tribal law if the tribe consents by deputizing the BIA and its officers. In some cases, BIA Police Officers are granted authority to enforce tribal law by tribal ordinance or statute. They may also be granted authority to enforce state laws by state statute.
The BIA has hiring preferences for Native Americans, but will hire nonmembers who have the proper qualifications or educational requirements.
The Division of Operations consists of six regional Districts with 208 Bureau and tribal law enforcement programs employing 3,000 police officers. Of the 208 programs, 43 are operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The operations division consists of telecommunications, uniformed police and criminal investigations.
Headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the District offices are located in:
Aberdeen, South Dakota (District I)
Muskogee, Oklahoma (District II)
Phoenix, Arizona (District III)
Albuquerque, New Mexico (District IV)
Billings, Montana (District V)
Nashville, Tennessee (District VI)
The BIA Police Officers respond to calls concerning felonies and misdemeanors under Federal, State, local and tribal laws, they Investigate, apprehend, arrest, and detain all persons.
They respond to calls concerning emergencies such as traffic accidents, domestic violence and disorderly conduct. They maintain law and order within the area of assignments by patrolling in a patrol vehicle, investigating suspicious situations, and taking action as appropriate. They perform such assignments as working radar on busy highways, participating in night surveillance in high crime areas, and participating in traffic and crowd control activities. They make arrests in cases of crime or misdemeanors which they personally witnessed; they take persons arrested to appropriate authorities for booking or formal charging.
BIA Officers also enforce all laws and regulations within his/her authority related to possession, use, distribution, trafficking and manufacturing of controlled substances.
BIA Police serve federal, state, or local or tribal warrants, subpoenas and other court papers; testifies at hearings and trials as an expert witness in federal, state, local or tribal courts as required; and prepares and submits reports of incidents or traffic accidents, daily and weekly activities, and narratives and statistical reports as required.
BIA Police Special Agents/Criminal Investigators investigate a wide range of criminal activity including homicide, rape, sexual abuse, and assaults. These types of investigations may include activities such as surveillance, undercover operations, affecting arrests, evidence collection, search warrant execution, interviewing, Grand Jury appearances, case preparation, and trials involving criminal defendants in both federal and tribal court. Special Agents are also involved in various activities, such as special task forces combating illegal drugs, emergency operations task forces, and providing disaster relief and support to other agencies and departments.
Navajo Nation Police
The Navajo Nation Police is the law enforcement agency on the Navajo Nation in the Southwestern United States. It is under the Navajo Division of Public Safety. It is headed by a Chief of Police, six Police Captains and eight Police Lieutenants. It includes: Internal Affairs, Patrol, K-9 Unit, Police diving, Tactical Operations Team, Traffic Unit, Fiscal management, Recruitment, and Training Divisions. The Navajo Nation Police are responsible for seven districts: Chinle, Crownpoint, Dilkon, Kayenta, Shiprock, Tuba City, and Window Rock.
There are also several substations in each district ranging from one man substations or up to five officers each. Currently, there are 210 police officers, 45 criminal investigators and 279 civilians, acting as support staff for the department. The Navajo Nation Police are funded by federal contracts and grants and general Navajo Nation funds. This police department is one of only two large Native American police Departments with 100 or more sworn officers in the United States.
The Navajo Rangers are an organization of the Navajo Nation in the Southwestern United States, which maintain and protect the tribal nation's public works and natural resources. The Rangers form a part of the Navajo Nation Department of Resource Enforcement (within the Division of Natural Resources), and currently consists of 16 officers in four different field locations. The Rangers also serve as a park service, protecting natural and historical sites and assisting travelers.
Navajo Code Talkers During World War II
As 1942 dawned, World War II was not going well for America and her Allies. Japanese carrier-borne bombers and fighters had crippled the U.S. Navy’s proud Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941; attacked American bases in the Philippines and on Guam; and were intent on seizing other island bases in the south and central Pacific. In Europe, France had fallen to Germany’s blitzkrieg, and stalwart Britain was still staggering from the Nazis’ relentless nighttime bombing during the previous year.
In February 1942, after formulating his idea, Philip Johnston traveled south to Camp Elliott near San Diego, where he tried to convince Lieutenant Colonel James E. Jones, the Marines’ Signal Corps Communications Officer, that a code based on the Navajo language could not be broken by the enemy. Jones, after listening intently to Johnston’s idea, responded: ‘In all the history of warfare, that has never been done. No code, no cipher is completely secure from enemy interception. We change our codes frequently for this reason.’ But Johnston’s graphic presentation proved so convincing that the two men agreed to set up a test.
Returning to Los Angeles, Johnston spent nearly two weeks seeking bilingual Navajos from among that city’s population. On February 28, 1942, he returned to Camp Elliott with four Indians in order to prove their linguistic capability before a group of skeptical Marine staff officers. Sent in pairs to separate rooms, the first two Navajos were given a typical military field order to transmit in their own language to the others several doors away. When retranslated back into English, the message received by the second pair proved to be an accurate copy of the order as it was given. The Marines were amazed at the speed and accuracy of the interpretation, and the presentation was pronounced a complete success.
The group of Navajos who reported for basic training at the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot had never experienced any sort of military discipline, and several found it difficult to cope with their new lifestyle. Although now officially designated the 382nd Platoon, U.S. Marine Corps, at boot camp, the group was referred to as ‘The Navajo School.’
At Camp Pendleton, the Navajos, in addition to their other duties, were required to devise a new Marine Corps military code which, when transmitted in their own language, would completely baffle their Japanese enemies. The code’s words had to be short, easy to learn, and quick to recall. After working long and hard on the project, the men devised a two-part code. The first part, a 26-letter phonetic alphabet, used Navajo names for 18 animals or birds, plus the words ice for I, nut for N, quiver for Q, Ute for U, victor for V, cross for X, yucca for Y, and zinc for Z. The second part consisted of a 211-word English vocabulary and the Navajo equivalents. This code, when compared with conventional Marine Corps codes, offered considerable savings in time, since the latter involved lengthy encoding and deciphering procedures by Signal Corps cryptographic personnel using sophisticated electronic equipment.
Eventually, Navajo code talkers served with all six Marine divisions in the Pacific and with Marine Raider and parachute units as well. Praise for their work became lavish and virtually endless as they participated in major Marine assaults on the Solomons, the Marianas, Peleliu, and Iwo Jima.
Commenting on the Marines’ Iwo Jima landing, Major Howard Conner, the Fifth Marine Division’s Signal Officer, said:
‘The entire operation was directed by Navajo code. During the two days that followed the initial landings I had six Navajo radio nets working around the clock.They sent and received over 800 messages without an error. Were it not for the Navajo Code Talkers, the Marines never would have taken Iwo Jima.’
Conversation with Chester Nez, Code Talker from “Armchair General” magazine article following autobiography. Interviewer is Tim Tow.
Here is a brief description of the book and the interviewer’s role in the article.
“After Tim Tow reviewed the book Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII for Armchair General, we asked Tim to conduct this interview with the authors, Chester Nez and Judith Schiess Avila. Tim has studied the history of military intelligence and writes on technology and military affairs. Watch for his upcoming article "The Rise and Fall of the American Heavy Tank" on ArmchairGeneral.com.”
Tim Tow (to Chester Nez): Are there some common misperceptions about the Navajo code talkers that you wish to correct?
Chester Nez: Many people think that the code talkers simply spoke Navajo, when we actually developed a doubly encrypted code utilizing both English and Navajo.
Also, some people think that we were "special" Marines who didn’t have to go through basic training. In reality, we all went through basic, just like any other Marine recruit. On the reservation we led a very physical life, so basic training was tough, but not too tough.
TT: Is there any incident from your time as a code talker that particularly stands out in your memory?
CN: We were constantly warned that we couldn’t get captured—because the Japanese would torture us to learn about our code. It’s ironic that I was "captured" by American Army troops while on the island of Angaur. They put a .45 pistol to my head and accused me of being a Japanese soldier impersonating a Marine. Luckily, the communications officer stepped in before any real damage was done.
TT: With your perspective on Navajo and mainstream American culture, what do you regard as the biggest strengths of each?
CN: Our code combined the strengths of each—the complexity of Navajo, further compounded by utilizing English words translated into Navajo as an alphabet. The Japanese never broke our code—the only unbroken code in modern warfare.
(My note: I have ordered a copy of this book, and it is yet to arrive. I eagerly look forward to reading the entire book.)
In conclusion, it is obvious to me that the police departments on the Native American lands contribute a great deal to the police society in this country, and they do their jobs with professionalism and training and perspective much like the rest of the police forces in this country. The Navajo people and the Navajo police have proven to worthy of equal status with the rest of the citizens of the United States, and history needs to remember the extreme importance and dedication and sacrifice their people made to the winning of World War II.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
This was an Oral Presentation for my
Criminal Procedures class at Ohlone College