The backlash from the epic flop that was Measure 5 on the 2014 ballot continues.
Ducks Unlimited, ostensibly a pro-hunting nonprofit that is masquerading has a left-wing environmental activism group, was the primary mover-and-shaker behind a constitutional measure on the ballot last year which would have created a massive oil-funded slush fund for conservation groups. It failed. Big time. Despite a multi-million dollar campaign backing it the measure got just over 20 percent of the vote.
The backlash against the measure was so bad that the conservation activists have probably set back their cause for at least a decade. Case in point, today Congressman Kevin Cramer sent a letter to the National Resources Conservation Service questioning their partnership with Ducks Unlimited.
“It remains troubling NRCS continues to contract with DU to provide staff as field biologists especially when DU’s stated mission runs contrary to the objectives of many farmers and ranchers as well as the goals of NRCS,” Cramer said in a press release accompanying the letter. “I am asking for documents and communications related to the formation of this arrangement between NRCS and DU as well as any information regarding the oversight of these staff members and polices ensuring their independence from DU’s political activities and initiatives. Producers need to have confidence the field biologists are not acting in a biased manner.”
The North Dakota Grain Growers Association raised this issue back before the election as well.
“[T]he NDGGA strongly disapproves of the United States Government, through the National Resources Conservation Service, using Ducks Unlimited personnel as foot soldiers for its work due to their bias toward their own agenda, oftentimes at the hands of the North Dakota farmers that helped build this great state into the economic powerhouse it is today,” a press release from the group read. “The NDGGA feels that the people of North Dakota deserve unbiased people working for the federal government, workers that will represent everyone’s interest and not just the political ones of the people that deposit their paycheck, especially at the expense of the local agricultural community.”
This is the damage that Ducks Unlimited has done to their “brand” (for lack of a better term). Where once the group enjoyed a great deal of good will in ag states like North Dakota, what with their outreach to the hunting community, they’ve squandered a good deal of it with their ill-advised run at creating an oil-fueled piggy bank for themselves.
They’re going to be paying the price for years to come.
Of course, this isn’t just about the politics of Measure 5. If we’re going to be regulated, it should be by objective regulators. Not activist conservation groups.