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ND conservation measure backers turn in signatures

BISMARCK (AP) North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger says backers of a proposed conservation fund ballot measure have submitted their petitions.

Jaeger on Monday said he received 1,970 petitions, which supporters have estimated have more than 41,000 signatures.

Conservation advocates want a bigger slice of North Dakota oil tax revenues for a fund to benefit water, wildlife and parks projects. Backers want 5 percent of the state's oil extraction taxes for the fund. That would raise about $150 million during the 2015-17 budget period. The current fund is capped at $30 million.

Opponents say they worry that a bigger fund would take away from other critical needs.

Jaeger has until Sept. 8 to certify whether supporters submitted the necessary 26,904 signatures to appear on the November ballot.