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Letter: Proposed law takes away landowner rights

Minnesota Senate member Rod Skoe and State Rep. Kent Eken have included the following sentence in their recently proposed laws S.F. 3811 and H. F. 4164 that would give the Commissioner of the DNR legal access to any lands public or private, regardless if they are given permission by the landowner or not. The sentence reads as follows:

"The commissioner may enter any lands to carry out the duties and functions of this section and may dispose of or destroy wild animals found on those lands to control the spread of disease."

This one simple sentence gives the DNR the authority to access private land whether the landowner wants him to or not. This legislation is getting a "fast track" by the Pawlenty administration and other government officials. As a landowner I want to know:

First, has the wildlife disease problem gotten so out of hand and been so mismanaged that now all landowners across the state have lost the privacy right of access to their land?

Second, is this just an attempt to slide or sneak this into law using the current wildlife disease issue as the reason? As a landowner is this what you would want?

Third, is the powerful Cattle Lobby forcing legislation into place that will affect all landowners for years to come?

Please contact your local state government representatives on this issue before we landowners lose another basic right to our government officials. I for one do not feel that access to my land should be someone else's decision; instead it should just be mine. This sentence can easily be removed from the legislation being proposed. Private land access has always been a landowner right; do not let irrational action by a few to take it away forever. -- Brad Barth, Osakis, Minn.