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ND tribe to get control of land for oil refinery

Associated Press Modified: October 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm •  Published: October 10, 2012

NEW TOWN, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota's Three Affiliated Tribes will be getting control of land for construction of a proposed new oil refinery, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday.

Salazar's decision, announced during a news conference at the tribe's headquarters in New Town, means the tribe may begin construction of the $400 million refinery next spring, tribal Chairman Tex Hall said.

"It's the biggest economic project in the history of our tribe," Hall told The Associated Press. "We're really excited about this finally coming to fruition."

The tribe wants to use 469 acres of land near Makoti to build the refinery and produce feed for the tribe's buffalo herd. Makoti is a community near the northeastern corner of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, about 30 miles southwest of Minot.

Tribal officials asked the U.S. Interior Department nine years ago to put the land into trust, a process by which the agency will own the land and the tribe will control and manage it.

Salazar said Wednesday the agency had accepted the application and intended to put the land into trust.

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