At the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new bypass in New Town, new Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Mark Fox had a meeting about the oil industry on the reservation with Gov. Jack Dalrymple. No less than two weeks into his position Fox claims he is ready to ‘tackle the issues that the previous administration was not apt to do.’ Fox wants to support oil development on the reservation, but in a way that keeps its environmental interests in mind. The meeting was an introduction to energy industry-related goals for the year.
The Three Affiliated Tribes has gained over $1 billion over the past six years as a result of oil and gas drilling on the reservation. Since environmental hazards come along with the industry, Dalrymple and Fox have decided to start an environmental task force in the area. Fox is committed to improving the environmental and natural resources departments of the tribe.
Fox won in the most high-profile tribal election ever. Former Chairman Tex Hall was eliminated early on in the race when allegations and evidence of his questionable business practices surfaced. Flaring is another major concern on the reservation, which is a consequence of the topography of the area. Forum News Service reported that Fox stated, “To protect our reservation, to protect our people, to protect our environment, we need all the resources we can get. And I don’t think it amounts to us surrendering any sovereignty at all,” Fox said. “In fact, I think it strengthens our sovereignty… to say, ‘Let’s get a group together here, form a group that addresses these needs.’”