Land use plan workshop

Published: Dec. 6, 2017 at 4:02 PM CST
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Landowners in North Dakota are facing a number of challenges, from dealing with oil wells to managing their cattle. A disconnect between local governments and federal agencies is making things more difficult.

The Northwest Landowners Association met in Minot today to work on bridging that gap. They discussed their issues with Karen Budd-Falen, who is a candidate to be the director of the Bureau of Land Management in President Trump's administration.

There is a growing division between North Dakota's rural governments and federal agencies over how to manage land, from oil to farming to raising cattle.

The landowners find themselves in the middle of that dispute and that is where Karen Budd-Falen comes in.

The land management expert based out of Wyoming brought her knowledge to the Northwest Landowners Association.

"She is here educating us today on land use plans for either your private use, your township use, county use, planting and zoning," said Troy Coons, NW Land Owners Board Chairman.

Budd-Fallen says the purpose of a land use plan is not to tell the Bureau of Land Management where to drill oil wells, or where to graze cattle, but rather to offer insight that could impact federal decisions.

"The purpose is to say that federal decisions are going to truly impact my county. How will that impact the local citizens in my county? How will it impact the economy? And how will it impact natural resources?" said Budd-Falen.

She says that federal agencies are supposed to consider data on a local level, but that is not always the case.

"What we found is that federal agencies have a hard time relating to a small county in North Dakota where they have probably never been. And so if the locals can describe that through a local land use plan, it will help make the federal government make better federal decisions," said Budd-Falen.

Encouraging local governments and their communities to weigh in on federal decisions.