The First Nations say the provincial government has no right to dictate the level of oil and gas activity on their land. They believe the oil curtailment policy could have a negative financial impact.
Since the beginning of January, the Alberta government is forcing oil companies to restrict production in an effort to clear a backlog of oil and boost prices for Canadian crude, which sold for about $50 less per barrel than the American benchmark — West Texas Intermediate oil — during the fall.
As a result, oil prices in Western Canada have soared.
While the price boost is beneficial for First Nations who collect royalties from oil producing companies on their land, some leaders oppose the curtailment.
First Nations will "likely be impacted negatively by the curtailment of oil production," said Chief Roy Fox with the Blood Tribe in southwest Alberta during his motion challenging the policy at last month's annual general meeting for the Indian Resource Council (IRC). The IRC represents First Nations with oil and gas resources on their lands.
He also said the Alberta Energy Regulator and government "have no jurisdiction over First Nations lands and resources and that the decision regarding oil curtailment does not, and should not apply to them and their oil and gas operations."
The motion was unanimously supported, although fewer than 10 of the IRC's more than 100 members were present at the time. Neither Fox nor the IRC returned requests for an interview.