Lawmakers Vote to Move Forward with Heritage Fund - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Lawmakers Vote to Move Forward with Heritage Fund

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The North Dakota legislature decides to move forward with a plan to create an outdoor heritage fund.

The Senate approved the bill this afternoon.

4 percent of oil and gas tax revenue will be used to establish the conservation fund, with a cap of 15 million a year.

The money could be used for projects such as providing access to public and private lands, restoring fish and wildlife habitat, conserving natural areas for recreation, and developing parks.

"That's what this bill is about, about public access to land. Just getting opportunity so people who have that heritage, love to hunt and care about the land can have access," says democratic Sen. George Sinner of Fargo.

"I'm still not sure how I'm going to vote, I know I don't like it but I wonder if it's worth buying the ransom so we can buy off the wildlife interests who want to control our land. I just want you to know our farmers and ranchers feel that they have been good stewards and they feel this kind of thing is a slap in the face," says republican Sen. John Andrist of Crosby.

An advisory board will oversee the funding and the Industrial Commission will have the final approval of projects.

House bill 1278 now goes to the Governor.

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