Government and business leaders from five tribes met with representatives from federal agencies Aug. 20-21 at the Sky Ute Casino Resort to hash out existing tribal energy development issues and plan for the future.
Present for the first Four Corners Tribal Summit were members of the Southern Ute, Northern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute tribes as well as the Navajo and Jicarilla Apache nations. From the federal government were Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Land Management officials — including Mike Black, director of the BIA.
The two-day agenda was chock-full of presentations on tribal energy projects, beginning with an overview of the history of energy resource development on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation by Tom Shipps of Manyes, Bradford, Shipps & Sheftel LLP. Growth Fund Operating Director Bob Zahradnik then discussed the future of San Juan Basin development.
Other sessions covered topics including hydraulic fracturing, new federal regulations, business strategies and contracts.
“The intention of these workshops was really to invite the tribes together to have a family meeting,” said Roger Fragua, president of Albuquerque, N.M.-based Cota Holdings and the summit’s master of ceremonies. “When Indian tribes come together, there’s a genius that’s awakened.”
Southern Ute Chairman Jimmy R. Newton Jr. said he hopes to see the summit become an annual event.