Inupiat landowners win suit versus BP

The Anchorage Daily News reports that the heirs of Andrew Oenga, an Inupiat who held a 40-acre allotment on the edge of the rich Prudhoe Bay oil field, won a federal court ruling in September that British Petroleum, drilling on Oenga’s land, was pumping oil from a Prudhoe-area oil pool called Lisburne in violation of its lease.

As a result of the court’s ruling, the Bureau of Indian Affairs reversed its prior opinion of this dispute and on Jan. 8 sent BP a letter: “BP and its contractual partners are hereby directed to immediately cease utilizing the leased premises to produce oil or gas.”

BP attorney Joe Perkins said the Lisburne wells were shut down last October after the court’s.

While the Oenga family has received up to $1 million in rent over the years, they estimate the real amount due as something like $80 million according to their lawyer.

That’s why the family sued the government, which should have enforced proper collections from BP, say the Oenga heirs and their attorney, Ray Givens of Bellevue, Wash.

Read the entire story at the link above.

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