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Letter to the editor: North Dakotans need to be good stewards of land, water

As a North Dakotan, I cannot stand by and watch the things I most love about this state go away. New development and prosperity are great. But let’s not lose our quality of life in the bargain. That’s why I support the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks amendment.

We have an obligation to be good stewards of our land and water. I want the next generations to be able to enjoy what I have enjoyed while living most of my life in this state such as clean water, outdoor places to roam, hunting and fishing and abundant wildlife. These things are disappearing, and it’s time to make them a priority.

We have the largest oil development in the world. Great for jobs and overflowing state coffers, and it makes sense to use a small portion of existing oil taxes to conserve our good grasslands, farm land and water before it’s gone. The amendment does that without raising taxes.

Hunters and outdoors people have seen what’s happening. Private Land Open To Sportsmen and Conservation Reserve Program acres are going away, and wildlife numbers are dropping. The Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks amendment is a chance for North Dakotans to develop voluntary conservation programs for farmers and ranchers to implement on private lands.

Don’t be fooled by lobbyists with political agendas. Strong accountability is built into the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks amendment. Every grant will need to be approved by the governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner who surely will respect the needs of agriculture and North Dakota landowners. They will also have recommendations from a citizen board of appointees from the governor, North Dakota Legislature, the agriculture commissioner and the energy industry.