Backers of conservation amendment announce broad coalition of support
FARGO – Backers of the Clean Water, Wildlife & Parks Amendment announced Tuesday that a broad coalition of 225 individuals, businesses and organizations have endorsed Measure 5 on the November ballot.
“That’s a broad range of North Dakotans, teachers, agricultural producers, business owners and others,” said Steve Adair, chairman of the campaign for the conservation amendment.
“It’s really grown into a broad, grass-roots effort across the state,” said Adair, an executive with Ducks Unlimited in Bismarck.
Measure 5 backers appeared Tuesday in Fargo and Grand Forks to highlight what they called a broad base of support for the measure, which calls for setting aside 5 percent of oil and gas extraction revenues for conservation and outdoor recreation.
“It’s a very bold approach to a very serious problem we’re facing in this state,” said Buel Sonderland, a Fargo supporter who noted the steep loss of conservation acres, resulting in a significant loss of grassland habitat. “That’s what’s so important about this measure.”
Sonderland, a member of the Cass County Wildlife Club, which supports Measure 5, was joined by Jennifer Kirkeby, a mother of three and owner of Flex Nutrition in Fargo, in a meeting with the editorial board of the The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.
“We personally use all of the outdoor areas,” said Kirkeby, a runner and bicyclist, referring to parks and recreation trails.
Opponents of the conservation measure have sought to paint the proposal as being overwhelmingly backed by out-of-state environmental groups or financial interests.
“We think that’s an unfair characterization of those dollars,” Adair said.
Many groups backing Measure 5, including Ducks Unlimited, have thousands of members and a strong presence in North Dakota, he said.
Ducks Unlimited has between 6,000 and 7,000 North Dakota members, has been active in the state for 50 years, and has had an office in the state for 30 years, Adair said.
If passed by voters, the fund would have a grant program administered by a citizen advisory board and overseen by the governor, attorney general and agriculture commissioner.
Health providers join to support Measure 7 group
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Health care providers have put their support behind Measure 7, which would allow major retailers in North Dakota to operate pharmacies with licensed pharmacists.
Through the statewide Health Policy Consortium Altru Health System in Grand Forks, Sanford Health of Fargo and Bismarck and Trinity Health in Minot, joined North Dakotans for Lower Pharmacy Prices in supporting the measure.
Voters in November will decide on Measure 7, which repeals a state law requiring that licensed pharmacists have a majority ownership of individual pharmacies in North Dakota.
According to a press release from North Dakotans for Lower Pharmacy Prices, a Kaiser Family Foundation study found that North Dakotans are paying more for prescription medications than people in neighboring states such as Minnesota, where pharmacies can be found in stores grocery stores and other general retailers.