Agency reverses Trump-era oil rights ruling regarding Missouri River tribal mineral rights
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The Biden administration has scrapped a Department of Interior opinion under Donald Trump that attempted to strip mineral rights under the original Missouri River riverbed from a North Dakota tribal nation.
The memorandum posted Friday by the U.S. Department of Interior withdraws a May 2020 opinion concluding that the state is legal owner of submerged lands beneath the river where it flows through the Fort Berthold Reservation.
That memo rolled back an Obama administration favoring the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, which immediately filed a federal lawsuit opposing the decision.
Interior officials said in a statement that the reversal will allow the agency to review the matter and ensure it is upholding its “trust and treaty obligations in accordance with the law.”