99-Year Pipeline Easements Still O.K.

More legislative recycling: the Ag Land Assessment task force has put forward House Bill 1007, which seeks to limit conservation easements to thirty years. This bill follows up on a recommendation made last fall by task force chair Sen. Larry Rhoden (R-29/Union Center). It also resurrects a similar proposal from last year's Legislative session that died in the House 22 to 45.

Limiting conservation easements is all about putting money over conservation. It takes the shortsighted position that conservation is only a fleeting concern, that thirty years is plenty of time to protect wetlands and wildlife, and that conservation projects that extend past a single human generation are a waste of good consumable resources.

Note also that HB 1007 targets only one type of easement. If you want to protect your land from being plowed for profit, Senator Rhoden and his HB 1007 co-sponsors want to limit your right to do so to 30 years. But if you want to protect your right to tear up your land (and the land of others) and run a toxic oil pipeline through it, they see no reason not to let you (or, more relevantly, a Canadian company) tie up that land in that purpose for 99 years.

Limiting conservation easements was a bad idea last year; it's a bad idea this year. Whether you're interested in conservation or individual property rights, you should call your legislators and tell them to nix HB 1007.