Minot Area Chamber of Commerce
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The Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce (GNDC) has agreed to join the broad-based coalition supporting North Dakotans for Common Sense Conservation.  Why?  It's the best way to defeat the ill-conceived proposed constitutional amendment that would commit five percent of North Dakota's oil extraction tax - conservatively estimated at $200 million a biennium - to a new fund with no clear idea of how it would be spent, yet mandate $2 million a week be spent on conservation projects.
  GNDC supports conservation efforts and safeguarding the environment, but this measure is the wrong approach.  The Minot Area Chamber of Commerce has joined GNDC and here are the reasons why the groups oppose it:
*  The supporters of this proposed constitutional amendment are being funded by out-of-state special interest groups.  A report filed with the Secretary of State's office at the end of last year showed the group received 95 percent of its money from outside the state.
* It would divert billions of dollars of state funding that could otherwise be spent on schools, education, infrastructure, emergency services and tax relief.
*  The money from this fund can be granted to state agencies, tribal and local governments, political subdivisions and non- profit groups.  Some of the non-profits that will likely benefit from it would be the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the Dakota Resource Council and other radical environmental and wilderness organizations.
*  Putting this in the state's Constitution is not the proper way to fund conservation programs.  Any changes to this constitutional amendment could only be corrected by another statewide vote.  Passing this would set a dangerous precedence where every special group could try to secure funding through a ballot instead of the Legislature.
*  Its advisory board members would be required to have a background in land conservation and/or conservation activism - likely ensuring that only conservation groups would  be represented without the input of business or taxpayers.
  GNDC and the Minot Chamber are among more than 20 diverse groups that are part of this coalition backing the North Dakotans for Common Sense Conservation.  They  support them because they already invest more than $100 million per biennium in preservation and conservation in North Dakota.
  As its name implies, supporting this effort is just common sense.  There are better ways to support conservation programs than through an ill-advised constitutional amendment that would saddle the state with unnecessary mandated spending. 
701.852.6000 1020 20th Ave Sw, Minot, ND 58701
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