September 28, 2016

Air Pollution Control on Indian Reservations

Arnold W. Reitze Jr.

American Indian [hereinafter Indian] lands in 2014 were the sources of 1.8 percent of U.S. crude oil, 0.4 percent of the natural gas liquids, and 1.0 percent of the natural gas production. See U.S. Energy Info. Admin., Sales of Fossil Fuels Produced from Federal and Indian Lands FY 2003 through 2014, at 3 tbl.2 (2015). Royalty income from Indian lands producing energy and mineral resources was projected to exceed $1 billion in 2015. Nevertheless, some Indian officials believe onerous restrictions by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which regulates oil and gas activities on Indian land, are responsible for the relatively small percentage of U.S. production from Indian lands. Regardless of whether changes in regulations would result in increased production, the existing oil and gas production in the country contributes to air pollution that threatens public health and the environment.

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