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Stephen Adair, Published August 14 2012

A unique opportunity for ND to protect air, water, landscape

More than 36,000 North Dakotans have signed a petition to protect our clean water, lands and outdoor heritage for the benefit of North Dakota residents by dedicating 5 percent of our existing oil revenue for those purposes. The Clean Water, Lands & Outdoor Heritage amendment petitions are currently being reviewed by the secretary of state, and if approved, North Dakotans will vote on the ballot measure this November.

We have a unique opportunity to protect our clean water and our natural landscapes like the Badlands and improve natural flood control. Water and land are critical to the high quality of life that people are accustomed to here in North Dakota.

The time is right for North Dakotans to invest in and protect our land and water. Our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren deserve a land and clean water heritage as good as the one we were given.

The measure uses existing dollars – a small portion of the surplus – and does not increase taxes. Funds generated by the measure are required to be spent in North Dakota, and an advisory board of some of North Dakota’s most capable people will oversee the funds.

North Dakota’s natural resources have brought us tremendous new wealth through both agriculture and energy development. These same natural resources are generating record-breaking revenue for the state of North Dakota – perhaps as much as

$4 billion in revenue this fiscal year alone.

And while infrastructure and local needs in the heart of our energy play can and should be addressed (and soon) by our legislative and state leaders, we can and should do more.

The Forum stated in an editorial last week, “… don’t let them (legislative leaders) tell you the state does not have the money to invest in programs – education, roads, child welfare, research, environment, to name a few – that have been short-changed for generations.”

I urge all North Dakotans to visit our website – www.ndheritage.org – to learn more about the amendment and to vote “yes” for clean water, unique natural areas like the Badlands and our outdoor heritage, now and for the future.

Adair is chairman of the measure sponsoring committee.