There are two or three days left in the Legislative Session. A lot of bad things are going to happen to North Dakota in that short period of time. I’ve been watching every Legislative Session since 1975, and this one is by far the most irresponsible I’ve seen.
One of the worst things that could happen this week is the industrialization of the Little Missouri State Scenic River. I wrote about this last week. I won’t go back into it here. Instead, I’m asking you to help stop something bad from happening. Below is an e-mail I sent to Governor Doug Burgum this morning. In it, I am asking him to instruct his State Engineer to withdraw the amendment to the Little Missouri Scenic River Act that he has requested in House bill 1020. You can read it here. It is on page 8, about halfway down the page. The words “temporary use” which they are adding to the Act are code words for Industrial Water Permits. The Water Commission’s own engineers told me that last week.
Please consider e-mailing Gov, Burgum by going to this link on his web page and ask him to have his State Engineer withdraw his request for changes to the Little Missouri State Scenic River Act in HB 1020. Please do it today. Tomorrow is probably too late. Thank you for your help.
Here’s the e-mail I sent this morning.
Dear Gov. Burgum,
In 1975, the Legislature acted to protect the Little Missouri State Scenic River (its full and appropriate title) from industrial development by passing the Little Missouri State Scenic River Act, now Section 61-29 of the North Dakota Century Code. Many of my friends and I were involved in that effort to protect the Little Missouri River, as the state faced a request from Tenneco to build a coal gasification plant in western North Dakota, using water from a dam on a tributary of the Little Missouri. The act specifically said “No water for industrial use from the Little Missouri or its tributaries.” That law has withstood the test of time, except that the State Water Commission has been violating it for years by giving out illegal industrial use water permits from the Little Missouri, by their own accounting more than 600 of them, to the oil and gas industry. Now the Water Commission has asked that an amendment to 61-29 be approved to allow them to legally give out industrial water permits. They have done so in an amendment to House Bill 1020, a Water Commission appropriations bill. I am writing to ask you to instruct the State Engineer to ask the Legislature to remove that amendment from HB 1020 today. You and I both know that the Little Missouri is too valuable to be used as an industrial water source. That’s why it has been named the state’s only State Scenic River, and is the only river protected from development by state law. Please act today to preserve that law, and our precious Little Missouri State Scenic River.