As usual, Thursday and Friday contained bills that have us hopping the halls, including an energy mitigation bill (2261) from Senator Unruh that would eliminate consideration of indirect impacts when siting an oil well or wind tower. Direct impacts are tangible, such as if you destroy a tree, plant another one. Indirect impacts were portrayed in testimony as being intangible and scientifically unprovable. There is another bill dealing with that issue coming soon from Rep. Brandenburg (1383) which will be heard Thursday, 1/31, at 2:15 in House Agriculture committee.
Tile drainage saw #2220 entertained by Senate Ag on Thursday – this had tweaks which would restore some powers to the Water Resource Districts boards taken away last session. It provides the ability for WRDs to charge applicants enough to cover costs incurred in issuing the permit up to $1,000, the ability to mitigate adverse impacts and others. It could easily be trumped by 1514 which would get rid of drain tile permitting altogether. That will be heard on Friday, Feb.1 at 9 in House Ag. I believe that the Agriculture Coalition suspended the rules at their meeting on Thursday and voted to support 1514. Snagging and clearing was reopened Thursday to allow a Senator from western ND to oppose. He was the only one opposing 2139 which would bring back State Water Commission cost-sharing those projects which was taken away last session.
Yesterday I wrangled a VIP invitation to visit with the new Canadian Counsel-General along with his Trade Commissioner. I had met some of their delegation in past years as a member of the International Legislators Forum and it was good to reconnect with them as soybeans continue to increase in Canada. They are having no problems selling theirs , btw… The three farm home exemption bills (2351, 2360 & 2278) will be heard in Senate Tax on Monday morning. Hopefully I can make it back through the snow.