University of Colorado at Boulder
BMP of Oil and Gas Development

Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes Laws

There are over ten thousand members of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes that share the Fort Peck Reservation. The Reservation covers more than two million acres of land in northeastern Montana, 50 miles from the Canadian border.


The Constitution contains articles establishing tribal jurisdiction, tribal territorial boundaries, and the authority to protect and preserve the wildlife and natural resources of the Reservation. It also establishes authority to regulate tribal economic development.

Relevant articles of the Constitution

Art. II : “The jurisdiction of the Tribes shall extend to the territory within the original confines of the Fort Peck Reservation as defined in the agreement of December 28 and December 31, 1886, confirmed by the Act of May 1,1888 (25 Stat. Sec. 1 13, Ch. 2 12) and to such other lands as may be hereafter added thereto under any laws of the United States, except as otherwise provided by law.”

Art. VII: The Tribal Executive Board shall exercise the following powers …

Section 5. To …. establish … civil codes or ordinances governing the conduct of the members of the Tribes and non-member Indians residing within the jurisdiction of the Tribes…(c) To protect and preserve the wildlife and natural resources of the Reservation…

Art. X: Business and Fiscal Authorities
The Tribal Executive Board shall exercise the following powers subject to any limitations imposed by the Constitution or Statutes of the United States and subject further to all expressed restrictions upon such powers contained in this Constitution and Bylaws.

Section 4. To manage, lease, permit or otherwise deal with tribal land, interest in lands or assets under tribal jurisdiction; and to purchase or otherwise acquire lands, or interest in lands within the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, in accordance with law.

Fort Peck Tribes Comprehensive Code of Justice 2004

The Fort Peck Tribes Comprehensive Code of Justice is the most relevant body of law for oil and gas development on the Reservation.

§ 13-701 to 704 Liaison Officers – The Fort Peck Tribes require the engagement of a Liaison Officer by any entity engaged in geophysical exploration on trust land; drilling for oil or gas on trust land; or geophysical exploration or drilling for oil on fee land where a right-of-way has been granted across land to facilitate the activity on fee land. The Liaison Officer, appointed by the Tribal Employment Rights Office, serves from the start of the geophysical project to final inspection or plugging and abandonment of a well. The Liaison Officer is meant to detour projects around tribal historical and cultural sites and inspect the leased area for the condition of the land, livestock, and fencing. The Officer will report all violations and damage and file weekly reports to the Tribe.

§ 20-603 Conditions - The Fort Peck tribes may condition the issuance of water permits on any conditions are necessary to insure adequate quality and quantities of water. These conditions may include quantity of water use, the method of application, and the location of application.

§ 20-801 Preference of uses by purpose - In times of water shortage, preference is given to certain water uses, including in-stream flows for fish and wildlife. Oil and gas operations are not one of the listed preferences

Title 22 – Protection of the Environment – Chapter 2 regulates underground injection; Chapter 3 regulates solid waste disposal

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