August 25, 2020

When a positive move needs adjustments

Topic: Issues

August 25, 2020: NDFB worked hard to get a U.S. Fish and Wildlife wetlands delineation appeals process on the books, but sometimes the devil is in the details.

Download and listen to the USFWS wetlands delineation appeals process concerns mp3

Read the transcript:

Land takings, wetland easements and how do we fix the issues with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and their many wetland easements they have throughout the state of North Dakota.

On August 19, I was invited by Senator Cramer to join a roundtable discussion with the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Director Skipwith. She came to North Dakota to hear our concerns. And these are concerns of a positive action. I know it’s hard to believe there can be concerns of a positive action, but for the first time in history, there is an appeal process, which has been set forth by this Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the direction of the Department of the Interior.

While that’s a positive that we finally have a way to appeal where these wetlands are, the process to do it is cumbersome, not equitable and plays favorites to the government rather than to the landowner themselves. That is what we wanted when we advocated for an appeals process. NDFB was advocating for this process, working with Senator Cramer, Senator Hoeven, for a lot of years. Back when Senator Cramer was a congressman, he was working on these water issues.

At that meeting we heard nothing but concerns. We did not hear one positive thing about this appeals process and how it was being handled and administered. That’s sad, because we thought we had a good thing. And we do still believe it’s a good thing. But it’s going to take some major adjustments to get it equitable for all of our farmers and ranchers.

Thanks again to Senator Cramer, Senator Hoeven, Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring, for voicing your concerns to the director. And thanks to Director Skipwith for coming out and listening and now hopefully she will take action on what she heard that needs to be improved with this wetlands mapping delineation appeals process.

And at NDFB, we will continue to fight for the rights of private property and to restrict the government in unfair practices which takes more land than what they actually, contractually paid for with their original easements.