The Southern Ute Indian Reservation – The Southern Ute Indian Tribe would like to clarify its position on coal production on and off the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. A New York Times article published April 1st, 2017 – Tribes That Live Off Coal Hold Tight to Trump’s Promises incorrectly characterizes the Tribe’s energy production.
The Southern Ute Indian Tribe is not engaged in commercial coal development. “The Tribe is a leader in conscientious development, production, and transportation of natural gas and oil,” stated Chairman Clement Frost. Among other accomplishments, the Tribe has worked to capture naturally occurring methane leaks associated with coal outcrops on the Reservation for which carbon credits have been assigned and marketed. In 2009, the Tribal Council approved creation of the “Carbon Credits Program”. This program was never intended to be an income generator but rather an environmentally beneficial activity.
Environmental stewardship is not something the Tribe takes lightly. The Tribe in some instances has regulations for oil and gas companies operating within the boundaries of the Reservation that are more stringent than required by the Environmental Protection Agency. The Tribe received the Clean Air Excellence Award for successful implementation of its Clean Air Act Title V Operating Permit Program – the first and only approved Title V air program in Indian Country. The Southern Ute Indian Tribe also administers and enforces a water quality program. In 2013, the Southern Ute Growth Fund received an Outstanding Operator award from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for the Vent Well system for Greenhouse Gas reductions.