Land law opinion sought
Published Friday, September 12, 2008
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State Capitol Bureau
BISMARCK – A western North Dakota lawmaker is asking the attorney general to rule on whether a state law barring the separate sale of hunting rights to tracts of land is unconstitutional.
Rep. Rod Froelich, D-Selfridge, gave a letter for Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem on Thursday seeking the opinion.
The issue is whether hunting rights can be “severed” in the same way mineral rights and surface owner rights are often sold separately.
The 2007 Legislature put a two-year moratorium on the practice and then set up an interim study of the issue. The interim Natural Resources Committee recently voted to pursue a bill that would make the ban permanent.
Froelich thinks such a ban violates property owners’ rights to do what they wish with their land. He said that in his area, such agreements on land sales have been happening for 40 years and there isn’t a problem with willing buyers and sellers who make the transactions.
“We sever coal, oil, everything else,” he said.