The run-up to tomorrow’s midterm elections has seen an unprecedented spending surge from environmental groups. Climate and energy issues—from fracking in Colorado to coal mining in Kentucky—have taken center stage. But a far less prominent political fight in North Dakota is poised to have an outsized impact on America’s biggest oil boom.
The Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, on the shores of Lake Sakakawea in the northwest part of the state, is home to roughly half of the 14,000 members of the Three Affiliated Tribes of Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation. The community sits atop roughly one-third of an immense treasure-trove: The Bakken Shale, the oil formation that is home to North Dakota’s ongoing fracking boom.