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Oil-money-for-conservation petitions approved

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Conservation advocates who want a bigger portion of North Dakota oil revenues for an outdoor heritage fund can begin collecting signatures to bring their proposal to a public vote next year.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger says he has approved the petitions for circulation.

Supporters of the idea need to collect about 27,000 signatures to get the measure on the November 2014 ballot. The proposed Clean Water, Wildlife and Parks Fund would set aside 5 percent of the state's oil extraction tax revenue, which would raise an estimated $150 million during the current two-year budget period. A similar proposal last year was derailed by a petition fraud scandal that involved fake signatures.

It would have set aside 5 percent of both the oil extraction and oil production tax.