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5 appointed to Dakotas Resource Advisory Council

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.

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.”