Election Day is nearing and as is the case in many years, several states have conservation initiatives on the ballot. In Wyoming, voters will decide whether or not to enshrine hunting, fishing, and trapping rights into the state constitution. Thirteen other states already have similar language in their constitutions.
Maine and Alabama are set to vote on conservation funding. Maine voters will decide on authorizing a $5 million bond for Land for Maine’s Future, the land conservation fund’s 6th bond since 1987. In Alabama, voters will decide on a constitutional amendment to fund Alabama Forever Wild, a trust for the purchase of land for state parks, recreation areas, wildlife management areas, and nature preserves, from of oil and gas royalties for the next twenty years. Plans to put an initiative on the North Dakota ballot to create a similar fund were dropped after fraudulent signatures were discovered on petitions.
Arizona has proposed a constitutional amendment to assert sovereignty over its land and natural resources. State Senator Sylvia Allen (R) claims that federal retention of the land constricts local economic opportunities. Governor Jan Brewer (R) vetoed the legislation that the ballot measure was based on citing uncertainty for current leaseholders. Opponents are claiming the measure is unconstitutional.
Source: E&E Publishing (Greenwire October 9, 2012, October 24, 2012), AZcentral.com (October 18, 2012).