Kevin Regan: Conservation Measure Is Reckless And Irresponsible


I’m writing to urge the people of North Dakota not to support the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment.

Supporters of the proposed amendment want 5 percent of North Dakota’s oil extraction tax revenue to be funneled into a new conservation fund. The amendment would require between 75 and 90 percent of the fund to be spent each year.

The problem is they don’t say how the money will be spent. The language of the amendment is intentionally vague, only stating the funding must be spent on “conservation.” So, what defines a conservation project? It doesn’t say.

The only conservation spending specifically outlined in the amendment is that the funds could be used to acquire land. That’s troubling for a number of reasons.

If the nonprofit groups supporting the proposed amendment are given millions and millions of dollars every year that they can use to buy land, it won’t be long before we see them purchasing and removing land from production agriculture, or placing easements on land, or closing land to sportsmen.

Aside from acquiring land, which is clearly stated in the amendment, we have no idea what the conservation funding would be used for. These groups are trying to lure the people of North Dakota into giving them a free pass and a bottomless bank account.

We can’t in good conscience support a constitutional amendment that would take hundreds of millions of dollars without telling us how the money will be spent. That’s reckless and irresponsible.

North Dakotans have more sense than that.

I urge you not to sign the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment petitions.