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Letter: Not-so Clean amendment

I won’t be signing or voting for the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment petition.

We all support clean air and water, but that is not what this is about. The sponsors of this petition are the usual suspects belonging to non-profits such as Ducks Unlimited, the North Dakota Wildlife Federation and The Wildlife Society.

They want 5 percent of the oil extraction tax diverted from the general treasury into their coffers. They seek to buy land. At $100 million per year, that’s enough to purchase an average size farm every 10 days for the next 25 years. It is unclear as to what agency will get fee title and hold it in trust for the public.

They also want to buy perpetual easements on land, encumbering it forever. The only agency that can hold a perpetual easement in North Dakota is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Would we be using state dollars to purchase these encumbrances and then turn them over to a federal government agency?

Many technical service providers will be needed to manage all these newly acquired lands. Many more will be needed to enforce the easements, making sure that landowners are not violating the terms of the encumbrance. Of course, these technical service providers will need to be trained biologists, ecologists and wildlife managers. State and federal agencies do not have the staff for this and the work will surely be sub-contracted out.

These contracts will be worth millions and very lucrative. This is where the non-profits move in to make their profits. Conveniently, they are staffed with these biologists and can hire even more. They get the contract bids, their budgets balloon and the taxpayers get the bill.

A slush fund to expand the wildlife profession, growing government.

Maybe it is time to investigate certain affiliations between state and federal wildlife agencies and their surrogate non-profits?

Dwight Grosz, Hazen