Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Tribal organizations and energy development: Recognized sovereignty, regulations, and planning
by Wilson, Amy James, M.U.R.P., University of Colorado at Denver, 2016, 193; 10247680
Abstract (Summary)

Tribal governments’ capacity to implement land use controls within their Nations is limited by the United States Constitution and federal law; however, tribal governments have inherent sovereignty to protect, guide, and govern the lands under their jurisdiction to protect and enhance the safety, health, and welfare of their members.

The aim of this thesis was to investigate and identify (1) the extent to which tribal Nations have sovereignty over their lands and authority to regulate land use within their jurisdiction and (2) the present status and extent to which Native American tribal governments use their sovereignty over land use development concerning oil and natural gas development within their jurisdiction.

The study was qualitative in nature and focused on a comprehensive archival review and a one-case case study. Constitutional law, federal Indian law, environmental law, and tribal law were considered. The thesis first examines the results of the archival review, which demonstrates that tribes, while limited by federal law, have sovereignty and authority to control land use within their territories.

The Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Reservation were also examined. The Tribes were chosen based on location, level of oil and natural gas production, and accessibility of information. The most current information available was used for the study. The data for the study was obtained from the Internet. The research suggests that tribes are implementing land use controls and participating in land use and comprehensive planning; however, they are not doing so to the extent of their sovereignty.

This study demonstrates that tribal governments do indeed have authority over their lands and resources and cannot fully take advantage of their sovereignty without practicing self-governance over their natural, built, and human environments. Questions remain regarding the reasons that tribal governments are not implementing land use controls and engaging in land use planning to the extent of their sovereignty. Further research is needed to understand the reasons that tribal organizations are not taking full advantage of the existing sovereignty of their lands and resources.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Steffel-Johnson, Jennifer
Commitee: Martinez, Donna, McNeish, Gilbert
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Design and Planning
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: MAI 56/02M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Area Planning and Development, Native American studies, Energy
Keywords: Energy development, Energy law, Indian country, Land use planning, Sovereignty, Tribal organizations
Publication Number: 10247680
ISBN: 978-1-369-50511-5
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