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Jeff Schafer, New Rockford, N.D., Published November 26 2013

Letter: Say ‘no’ to ballot outdoors measure

North Dakotans appreciate the outdoors, but our residents recognize the state has other needs that the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment would take funds away from, including infrastructure, emergency services, schools and tax relief.

The proposed constitutional measure would allocate 5 percent of North Dakota’s oil extraction taxes, conservatively estimated at $200 million per biennium, to a special fund. However, many North Dakotans know it’s not the right move for our state, and that is why the measure’s campaign is supported largely by out-of-state donors.

A report filed with the North Dakota secretary of state at the end of last year showed the conservation group received 95 percent of its money from out of state. These donations totaled nearly $670,000 while in-state donations were just shy of $30,000. The largest donation made in North Dakota totaled $7,800, but the rest totaled $2,000 or less. This hardly shows significant support of this measure in our very own state.

The Outdoor Heritage Fund, which allocates up to $30 million per biennium to outdoor preservation, was a plan approved in the last legislative session and, more importantly, was supported by North Dakota interest groups. The support behind the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment clearly does not speak for North Dakotans or for me.