President-elect Donald Trump. Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Flickr.

A group advising President-elect Donald Trump is mulling plans to privatize oil reserves located on Native American reservations.

Two chairmen that are part a group advising Trump on Native American issues told Reuters on Monday that they are considering a plan that would offer oil-rich reservation lands for private ownership.

The federal government currently holds titles on 56 million acres of tribal lands although the areas are governed by the tribes.

According to data published by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, energy and mineral resources generated over $701 million in royalty revenue paid to Indian mineral owners in 2012.

Income from energy and minerals is the largest source of revenue generated from Trust lands, according to the agency.

According to data collected by Reuters, Native American reservations could hold up to a fifth of the country’s oil and gas reserves despite only accounting for 2 percent of the United States.

Native American tribes can drill for hydrocarbons on reservation lands but those projects are subject to more stringent regulations than projects on privately-held land.

U.S. Representative from Oklahoma Markwayne Mullin, who is co-chair of Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition, told Reuters he expects “broad support” for the measure if it can be implemented “without unintended consequences.”

Neither the coalition nor Trump’s team have disclosed further details about the possible privatization plan.

Trump has promised to ease regulations on oil and gas development in an effort to boost domestic production and create jobs.

On the campaign trail, Trump proposed lifting restrictions and moratoriums on oil and gas drilling on federal lands.

In a video message posted on Monday, Trump said he plans to “cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy,” a move he says will create “many millions of high paying jobs.”

Trump has not yet disclosed details about the regulations he plans to either change or eliminate.


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