News » Commentary

Chicken-Fried News: Tribal court




Ask a scientist why Oklahoma is rattling and you’ll get an answer based on fact-based research.

Injecting oil and gas drilling wastewater into deep underground wells causes many man-made earthquakes, they say.

Based on the science, coupled with extensive damage caused by quakes in places like Cushing and Pawnee, lawyers are now jumping into Oklahoma’s fracking fracas.

The latest lawsuit comes from the Pawnee Nation, which claims several oil companies injected wastewater into wells and caused the 5.8-magnitude quake that hit Pawnee in September. The tribe seeks compensation for physical damage to real and personal property as well as punitive damages, Associated Press reported.

“We are a sovereign nation and we have the rule of law here,” Pawnee Nation executive director Andrew Knife Chief told AP. “We’re using our tribal laws, our tribal processes to hold these guys accountable.”

That’s right — the Pawnee Nation is taking Cummings Oil Company, Eagle Road Oil and others to tribal court. Any decision appeals would go before the tribe’s Supreme Court.

We at Chicken-Fried News will be watching this case closely. Now that scientists have linked the dramatic spike in earthquakes to underground disposal of oil and gas production wastewater, let’s see the arguments play out in court.

“We understand the industry is very important to the economy of Oklahoma, and the last thing we want to do is come in and shut the operations down,” Curt Marshall, the tribe’s attorney, told AP. “But we do want the oil and gas industry to act responsibly environmentally, and we want them to be held accountable for the damage they’ve created.”

Latest in Commentary

Add a comment