Posted 10/05/16 (Wed)
By Jack Dura
Farmer Staff Writer
North Dakota may be claiming billions of dollars of mineral rights under Lake Sakakawea in an alleged land grab that would be the largest attempted in state history.
Statoil and other oil companies have held oil royalties in escrow for federal and private mineral rights under the reservoir until various lawsuits are resolved.
Meanwhile, the North Dakota Petroleum Council issued a Sept. 14 memo stating its belief that the state is using a court case regarding river title to trigger a precedent laying claim to all of Lake Sakakawea’s lake bed and ultimately the reservoir itself.
“The argument for such a precedent is legally flawed, flies in the face of the federal government’s takings of the lake bed and contradicts the state’s long history (unbroken until now) of claiming ownership only to the submerged riverbed within the lake bed,” the NDPC memo said.
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