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Letter to the editor: Taxpayer will pay for contracts to nonprofits

 I’ll neither be signing the petition nor voting for the Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment.

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 nonprofits 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 fund into their coffers.

They seek to buy land. At $100 million per year, that’s enough to buy an average-sized farm every 10 days for the next 25 years. It’s unclear which agency will get the fee title and hold the land in trust for the public.

The groups 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 buy these encumbrances and then turn them over to a federal 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.

And 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, so the work surely will be subcontracted out.

These contracts will be worth millions and are very lucrative.

This is where the nonprofits 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.

The whole things is a slush fund to expand the wildlife profession. It’s “growing government.”

Maybe it is time to investigate affiliations between state and federal wildlife agencies and their surrogate nonprofits.