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ND Petroleum Council opposes conservation fund

BISMARCK -- The North Dakota Petroleum Council formally opposes a proposed constitutional amendment that if approved would set aside 5 percent of the state's oil extraction taxes to fund tens of millions of dollars in water, wildlife and parks projects.

The council's board of directors adopted a resolution against the proposal last week during its annual meeting in Grand Forks.

"The board wholly believes this initiative is a wrong approach and would take away from other critical needs across the state without any legislative prioritization and very little oversight in how a significant amount of money is spent," said board of directors Chairman Terry Kovacevich.

"The industry supports conservation efforts and advocated for the creation of the Outdoor Heritage Fund last session. We need to give that fund time to work."

A coalition of concerned citizens and conservation organizations is sponsoring the measure.

The group must collect 26,904 signatures to put the issue on the November 2014 ballot and amend the state constitution to create a Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Fund and Trust.