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5 appointed to Dakotas Resource Advisory Council

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Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has appointed five new members to the citizen-based Dakotas Resource Advisory Council, which advises the Bureau of Land Management on public land issues in North and South Dakota.

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The BLM, among other duties, considers applications for drilling on federal lands.

The members represent different interests, from oil and gas to tribal.

The new members are:

  • Ray Gilbert, Buffalo, S.D. (grazing)
  • Vern Timmerman, Salem, S.D. (energy/minerals)
  • Branden Bestgen, Sturgis, S.D. (dispersed recreation)
  • Debra Brown, Buffalo, S.D. (elected official)
  • Robert Johnson, Buffalo, S.D. (elected official)

Continuing members are:

  • Bruce Bowman, Bowman, (federal grazing
  • Drew Combs, Bismarck (energy/minerals)
  • Kevin Forrester, Sturgis, S.D. (dispersed recreation)
  • Ellen Reddick, St. Onge, S.D. (environmental)
  • Martin Marchello, Bismarck (dispersed recreation)
  • Vernon Bleich, Bismarck (academia)

Combs, also the director of minerals management for the state Department of Trust Lands, said the council brings on-the-ground perspectives to BLM operations, from varying interests.

He, for example, represents energy interests.

“So certain producers will give me a call and let me know what particular problems they’re having with the BLM,” he said.

“It’s really nice for everybody to get around in a group,” he said, “and see other people’s opinions on what your particular interest is and how it might affect them.”

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