Wednesday, April 28, 2021 - 04:51 pm

Representatives of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Nation, state legislators and other elected officials joined Gov. Doug Burgum today for the signing of Senate Bill 2319, which provides a framework for the state and MHA Nation to share tax revenue from oil wells that straddle the boundary of the Fort Berthold Reservation.

“This bill benefits MHA Nation and all North Dakota citizens by contributing to a stable tax and regulatory environment that will help attract additional investment and economic activity to our state,” Burgum said. “It also settles an unresolved issue from our 2019 tax agreement, creating a fair and reasonable framework for sharing tax revenues from straddle wells.”

Sen. Jordan Kannianen was the prime sponsor of SB 2319, which passed the Senate 43-3 and the House 79-13. Those attending the bill signing included MHA Chairman Mark Fox, House Finance and Taxation Committee Chair Rep. Craig Headland, state Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford and Scott Davis, executive director of the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission.

“We are deeply grateful to Chairman Fox for his tireless efforts and collaboration on this agreement, as well as Sen. Kannianen, Rep. Headland, Commissioner Rauschenberger and many others who worked hard to bring this bill to a final form that enjoyed broad bipartisan support,” Burgum said. “Legislation like this will continue to strengthen our state-tribal relations built on understanding and mutual respect.”

The bill shares tax revenue from wells that are located outside of the reservation but horizontally drill into the reservation, commonly known as straddle wells.

Tax revenue from the portion of the well that produces from inside the reservation will be split 50/50 for all existing wells. Wells drilled after July 1, 2019, will split their on-reservation tax revenues 80 percent to the tribe and 20 percent to the state, depending on whether the minerals are tribal trust or fee, which is consistent with the existing tax agreement.