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Paul Frye Significant Projects
Mr. Frye led the Navajo Nation effort in fashioning a land exchange and consolidation among the Navajo Nation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Bureau of Land Management. The tri-party agreement resulted in advantageous land exchanges for the Navajo Nation and protection for individual Navajo citizens who live on public lands, and protection of invaluable archaeological and cultural resources and wilderness areas.

Mr. Frye was instrumental in forming the Navajo Nation Oil and Gas Company with the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development as a federal corporation organized under section 17 of the Indian Reorganization Act, as amended. Mr. Frye has provided legal services and advice to NNOGC since its formation, and the net worth of NNOGC has risen from an initial investment of $500 thousand to over $500 million, and the firm protected it from an unlawful takeover in 2014.

When NNOGC began to bring tax-free fuel into the reservation pursuant to NNOGC's business and legal planning (and into another reservation in Arizona), the State of Arizona sought a tax-sharing agreement with the Navajo Nation. Mr. Frye was selected by the Navajo Nation Attorney General as the Navajo Nation's principal representative in those negotiations. The negotiations resulted in a tax-sharing agreement approved by the Intergovernmental Relations Committee of the Navajo Nation Council, under which the Navajo Nation receives 96.5% of the gasoline excise taxes that formerly were claimed by Arizona, approximately $12 million per year into the Navajo Nation treasury.

The most basic treaty-based rights of the Navajo Nation were attacked by the El Paso Natural Gas Company ("EPNG") in 2005. EPNG, joined by other companies doing business in Indian country, sought a ruling by the Department of the Interior and congressional legislation to allow pipeline companies and other utilities to obtain rights-of-way through the Navajo Reservation without the consent of the Nation. After the Minerals Department recommended outside counsel, Mr. Frye was selected to defend the Nation's inherent and treaty-based rights as sovereign and, after several hearings conducted by the Departments of Energy and Interior, submission of briefs and position papers to the Interior Solicitor, and collaboration with other tribal organizations, the Government determined that the rules and legislation sought by EPNG should not be enacted. See Paul E. Frye, Section 1813 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005: Implications for Tribal Sovereignty and Self Sufficiency, 42 U. Tulsa L. Rev. 75, 85-101 (2006). EPNG, which has initially offered the Nation a very small annual sum for renewal of its easements, is now paying over $20 million per year to the Navajo for these easements.
10400 Academy Rd. N.E., Suite 310, Albuquerque, NM 87111-1229Ph (505) 296-9400 • Fax (505) 296-9401


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Frye & Kelly, P.C., 10400 Academy Rd. N.E., Suite 310, Albuquerque, NM 87111 \ (505) 296-9400 \ \ 3/24/2024 \ Key Phrases: law firm Albuquerque NM \