- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The North Dakota Industrial Commission has received 25 requests seeking a total of more than $5 million from the state’s new Outdoor Heritage Fund, in the second round of grants.

The Legislature established the fund last year to restore land affected by energy production and to develop fish and wildlife habitat and outdoor recreation areas. It will receive up to $15 million annually from oil and gas taxes.

The Industrial Commission in January approved $5.8 million in grants for 17 projects after reviewing 74 applications. The application deadline for the second round of grants was Tuesday, though Industrial Commission Executive Director Karlene Fine told The Bismarck Tribune (http://bit.ly/QI1Bun ) that a few more applications might arrive in the mail by week’s end.

Fine said she was not surprised by the drop in the number of applications.

“The first time, we probably got a lot more than normal,” she said.

The newest applications encompass a variety of projects, including lake upgrades, recreation equipment and manure management.

“We’ve had a good opportunity to get the word out a bit more to groups,” advisory board chairman Wade Moser said. “I think people are going to be responsive to it.”

The fund’s advisory board - which is made up of agriculture, energy, conservation, business and recreation officials - will review the applications in mid-May and forward recommendations to the Industrial Commission for final approval at its May 27 meeting.

The Industrial Commission regulates North Dakota’s oil and gas industry. Its members are Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

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Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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