N.D. Bill to Help Protect Ag from Federal Regulation


By Mikkel Pates

BISMARCK –The North Dakota Legislature has passed the agricultural piece of a two-part legislative effort, designed to create a fund to help legally protect the state's two largest industries–agriculture and energy–from federal environmental regulations.

The agricultural bill, HB 1432, sets up a $1.5 million fund under the jurisdiction of the North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner. The fund is designed for research and litigation work, and would be spent when a committee chaired by the commissioner approves it. The bill passed the Senate with amendments by a 33-14 vote and then was passed in the House by 72-17 vote last week..

State Rep. Mike Brandenburg, R-Edgeley, said Gov. Jack Dalrymple had been briefed on the bill and has indicated he would sign it later in the week. Brandenburg acknowledged he's heard the criticisms that the bill is a slush fund that would have no effect.

“We're just going to have to prove to the people that this is a good bill,” he said. “Only time will tell.”

The bill started out as a proposal to fund it with check-off dollars, but that quickly was changed to a general fund appropriation. HB 1432 tries to address challenges farmers face with the Waters of the U.S. regulations and with the federal Endangered Species Act.

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Source:  The Jamestown Sun

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