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Published November 03, 2014, 09:31 AM

Use common sense on Measure 5

Common sense says our environment is important, and we want to be careful and good stewards of it.

By: Clarice Liechty, Agweek

Common sense says our environment is important, and we want to be careful and good stewards of it.

Good sense says that Measure 5 — Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Amendment to the North Dakota Constitution — does not make good sense for the citizens of North Dakota.

This amendment tasks the Industrial Commission — governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner — with selecting the grant programs recommended by a 13-member citizen’s account- ability board. The commission must allocate no less than 75 percent and no more than 90 percent of the revenue deposited in the fund on an annual basis.

Does the commission have the authority to reject any or all of the grant recommendations from the citizen’s accountability board? Of the 13 citizen’s accountability board members, the governor has seven appointments. Four recommended by the director of the Game & Fish Department, two from the parks and recreation division, and one from the Indian Affairs commission. Of the remaining six, two are appointed by the state senate president pro tempore, two by the speaker of the State House of Representatives, one from the energy industry and one farmer or rancher. Seven trumps six.

Why no one from the State Water Commission? After all, the first words of this amendment are Clean Water — protect, improve, maintain or restore water quality, improve natural flood control. The vision and mission statements of the out-of-state organizations, who are supporters of this amendment, are all about protecting their hunting and fishing industry.

Years ago, I made several unsuccessful attempts to be appointed to the Board of Higher Education. I was told that the governor must appoint one from the three people recommended to him by that committee. Will this also hold true with these recommended appointments? Will it also hold true for the citizen’s accountability board’s recommendations for funding projects?

There are restrictive guidelines to follow as to the qualification of those appointed to the citizen’s accountability board. Read the fine print. Most North Dakota citizens, of any educational level, would not qualify to serve on the board.

Good sense says vote no on Measure 5. Leave the decision for the spending of these millions of dollars to the vote of the legislators whom we can vote out of office.

Editor’s note: Liechty is from Jamestown, N.D.

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