Gov. Jack Dalyrmple Thursday announced the appointments to the Outdoor Heritage Fund advisory board.
The appointment of the committee, which will be official Friday, comes at a time when a petition is being circulated to create a similar yet separate fund.
The petition for the Clean Water, Wildlife and Park amendment needs about 27,000 signatures to put it on the November general election ballot.
Dalrymple called the appointments a “blue ribbon” panel which will oversee an estimated $30 million per biennium gathered from oil taxes — funds that will be given to groups for conservation projects.
“It’s a historic opportunity,” the governor said. “I couldn’t feel more optimistic in a totally new program.”
The advisory board, which will make recommendations for projects to the State Industrial Commission, consists of 12 voting and four non-voting members.
Ten of the 12 voting members were nominated by specific conservation, agriculture or energy groups.
The 12 voting members and the nominating groups are Eric Aasmundstad, Devils Lake (N.D. Farm Bureau); Robert Kuylen, South Heart (N.D. Farmers Union); Wade Moser, Bismarck (N.D. Stockmen’s Association); Dan Wogsland, Bismarck (N.D. Grain Growers Association); Blaine Hoffman, Gladstone (N.D. Petroleum Council); Jim Melchoir, Bismarck (Lignite Energy Council); Tom Hutchens, Bismarck (Ducks Unlimited); Patricia Stockdill, Garrison (Pheasants Forever); Jon Godfread, Bismarck (Greater N.D. Chamber); Randy Bina, Bismarck (N.D. Parks and Recreation Association); Carolyn Godfread, Bismarck (at-large) and Kent Reierson, Williston (at-large).
Non-voting members of the advisory board include Terry Steinwand, North Dakota Game and Fish Department director; Mark Zimmerman, North Dakota Parks and Recreation director; Larry Kotchman, state forester; and Ronda Vetsch, North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts.
The group will have its first official meeting Monday at the State Capitol to name a chair and to work on the grant application process.
Requests for funding can be submitted from nonprofit groups or political subdivisions for projects that would ultimately need approval from the State Industrial Commission.
Dalrymple, along with state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and state Attorney General Wayne Stenhejem, comprise the Industrial Commission.
Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, R-Dickinson, who was a co-sponsor of the bill that created the group, said with other funding sources, he sees the fund growing beyond the $30 million per biennium cap under state law that was approved during the past legislative session.
Supporters of the initiated measure dispute the $30 million figure, saying it will total about half of that amount.
Wardner said he would would like to see the group begin slowly in deciding how and where the money is spent.
“We’re North Dakotans,” Wardner said. “We like to take things one step at a time.”