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By Jay Colwell, Gardner, N.D., Published March 24 2014

Letter: Out-of-staters push ND petition

I read the recent letter to the editor in The Forum from Michael Dax supporting the proposed conservation measure that would commit 5 percent of North Dakota’s oil extraction tax – conservatively estimated at $300 million a biennium or nearly $3 million a week, based on current oil production rates – to a new fund with no clear idea how it would be spent.

He writes about the public interest. He’s right about that – it’s very much in the public interest to know that this measure is being funded primarily by out-of-state interest groups. In fact, reports filed by the Secretary of State’s office show that supporters of the proposed Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment received 96 percent of their 2012 and 2013 contributions – $662,000 – from groups outside North Dakota.

Dax is the new field director for the measure. He’s a native New Yorker who recently moved to Fargo after working for the Montana Wilderness Association. Who does he think he is moving here and telling us as North Dakotans how we should take care of our land, outdoors and wildlife?

North Dakotans value our land, it’s our heritage. Farmers by definition are conservationists; they preserve the land for future generations. This petition is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to slow down production agriculture and grab our tax dollars while they are abundant.

We don’t need out-of-staters telling us how to preserve our state’s outdoors, hunting and wilderness. We’re more than able to do that for ourselves without the help of outsiders like Dax who just don’t get it. Don’t sign the petition. But if you do, know that you’re signing against agriculture, the true heritage of North Dakota, and for folks who don’t have a vested interest in our future. They’re just interested in our money.