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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bear Butte Offers Easy Oil?

At the Mitchell McGovern Debate Tournament last weekend, I was chatting with some of my fellow McGovernites about the state of the state. We thought maybe we Dems aren't so bad off being way, way out of power. Governor-Elect Daugaard and the Republican supermajorities in the Legislature will fully own the next two budgets, and those two budgets won't be pretty. The GOP will have to make hard cuts or raise taxes. "What else are they gonna do," one of my interlocutors mused, "strike oil?"

Little did we realize...

Work is under way to develop an oil field near Bear Butte in western South Dakota that could eventually produce 4 million barrels of crude.

The state Board of Minerals and Environment on Thursday approved Nakota Energy LLC's application to establish a 960-acre field for the production of oil and gas, with spacing of no more than one well in each 40-acre tract.

...The oil field, located on private land, is slightly more than a mile from Bear Butte, an important religious site for American Indians that juts above the prairie on the northern edge of the Black Hills. Developers said the oil field should not bother anyone at Bear Butte [Chet Brokaw, "Companies Plan Oil Wells Near SD's Bear Butte," AP via ABC News, 2010.11.19].

Pastor Hickey, you didn't have anything to do with this, did you?

Some local oil exploited by local producers would be better than those darned foreign tar sands. West River oil will likely kill fewer ducks. Just remember, kids, to solve the state budget crunch, you still have to tax that oil.


  1. Could the state sell the right to tax future oil for a set amount right now, and then buy an annuity with that money that would create future income for generations?

  2. Native American groups aren't going to be happy having an oil field on the front step of one of their sacred sites. I wouldn't be either. It has to be THERE?

  3. "Drill and tax." Sounds like a plan.

  4. This is one of those cases where company names seem to imply endorsements by the indigenous people, such as in Tatanka Wind Power in McPherson County, which is a Spanish Corporation.

    Inyan Kara is a group of Rapid City-centered geologists who use the name of an important landmark in the Wyoming portion of the Black Hills. The name is a corruption of the Lakota name, which means "made of stone." Nakota Energy is a corporation with Wyoming registration headquartered in Littleton, CO. Its principal manager has a North Carolina address. Prior to taking the Nakota name, it was KDP Energy. One must wonder why it took the Nakota name, which is for the eastern division of the Sioux nation.

    There is a petition out against the drilling near Bear Butte, with 326 names so far. One must wonder why the hearing that resulted in the drilling permit had no opposing voices present.


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