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Other views: Property rights under attack in North Dakota

This land was your land are frightening words to me. In the United States we believed "this land is our land." The U.S. Supreme Court in its ruling of the case of Kelo v. the city of New London changed that. We do not own our property any more in...

This land was your land are frightening words to me. In the United States we believed "this land is our land." The U.S. Supreme Court in its ruling of the case of Kelo v. the city of New London changed that. We do not own our property any more in America.

In 1974 when our federal government was in the process of choosing a site for the anti-ballistic missile base in the United States, my farmstead and about half of my farmland was part of the area being studied. In the summer we had put an addition on our house. In November there were trucks roaming my fields taking core samples to check the soil layers. We lucked out and the site was chosen on neighbor's land a mile and a half from our yard. That decision caused hardship on the neighbors involved. It reduced the size of their farming operations. One of them was forced to quit farming because his rented land was gone.

The ABM site was deactivated after just a short period of activation. It had served its purpose of getting the SALT 1 treaty with the former Soviet Union. The homes have been moved away as well as some of the other buildings. Taxpayer dollars are still being spent with a small staff to maintain the remaining structures. It seems foolish to me to keep pouring money into a tribute to the cold war of the 1970s. It would sure make more sense to put the land back into production to help feed the hungry. The amount of money wasted is shameful.

Eminent domain was used to acquire the land from these landowners at less than the fair market value. Other land in the area was purchased from trailer parks at a much higher price. The ABM site was a legitimate public use, but when the courts ruled to take people's homes for the benefit of economic development, I feel that was wrong. I fully support the efforts of the sponsoring committee effort at circulating a petition to amend North Dakota's Constitution to protect our property rights.

The power of eminent domain will be used as a tool to implement "Agenda 21" with its goals of Sustainable Communities and turning vast areas of this great nation into the wildlands project. We must remain vigilant and do whatever is necessary to protect our property rights.

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I have been very pleased with the response and wish to thank all the qualified electors who have signed the petition. I urge others to join in when asked to sign. It will take a lot of effort and cooperation to secure the required number of signatures to get this measure on the ballot for the coming election.

Lebrun, Langdon, N.D., is a retired farmer and landowner and board member of LAND, the Landowners Association of North Dakota.

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