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The Nation

October 05, 1987

American Indian tribes, individual Indians and taxpayers have lost billions of dollars because of improper federal enforcement of mineral rights on reservations, the Arizona Republic reported. The newspaper said misfeasance deprived Indians and the government of up to $5.7 billion from oil drained from beneath Indian lands and said individual Indians have lost millions of dollars when government attorneys sided with oil producers. A major problem is lack of payments for oil pumped from beneath Indian lands from wells on adjacent land that is not Indian-owned, the paper said. The Bureau of Land Management, which is responsible for investigating these "drainage" cases, has more than 8,400 pending cases and only 16 people to investigate them.

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