The Landowners Association of North Dakota will cover issues affecting property rights in the state at its annual meeting today.
James Taylor of The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank in Chicago, will speak at the event. Taylor is a columnist for Forbes.com and has served as an analyst on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, PBS, CBS and ABC.
Topics to be covered include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan and Waters of the U.S. rule, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service easements and field biologists hired to help farmers seeking qualification for 2014 Farm Bill programs, said the Landowners Association's Executive Director Dwight Wrangham.
Wrangham said some issues, like the Clean Power Plan, are new to the annual event, but others, such as Waters of the U.S., are updates.
When it comes to the Clean Power Plan, Wrangham said many of the association's members are agricultural producers and big users of electricity who do not want electric rates to go up as a result of regulations. Some have coal and oil rights on which they receive royalties and don't want to see production go down.
Wrangham said Taylor is active in helping to fight these regulations and will give an overview of where such challenges are in the legal system presently and what to expect in the future.
When it comes to U.S. Fish and Wildlife easements, Wrangham said the issue is important because the agency is required to delineate for landowners which portion of their property is a wetland under federal control. Prior to a court order, the agency had tried to take control of entire quarters of land housing a wetland.
Dennis Miller, a past president of the association, has had some success working with U.S. Fish and Wildlife and will share information with attendees to use, Wrangham said.
Brian Johnson, executive director of the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts, will report on the progress of field biologists hired by farm groups in the state. These biologists were hired to help with items, like soil testing, required for farmers to qualify for programs under the 2014 Farm Bill.
Finally, attendees will hear from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service state director on a new, federally funded program for wetland mitigation, Wrangham said.
The event starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Ramada hotel in Bismarck, 1400 E. Interchange Ave. It costs $30 and is open to the public.
Those who wish to participate can register at the door. Wrangham said he expects 40 to 60 people in attendance.