Oil and gas fund – More than 50 Kansas counties, including all in southwest Kansas, recently joined in filing a lawsuit claiming the state withheld some $7.6 million in Kansas Oil and Gas Valuation Depletion Fund payments. The flap stems from Gov. Sam Brownback’s interest in taking dollars from a fund put in place as a safety net for oil- and gas-producing counties. Unfortunately, the trust funds wisely put aside for future property-tax relief may become just another casualty in a part of the state too often shortchanged.
Brownback has shown strong leadership by putting water issues high on his policy agenda. However, a test of his commitment to conservation may be in the works. The governor and his agriculture secretary, Dale Rodman, want to loosen restrictions on corporate farming in Kansas. The public would need more information on how that economic development goal meshes with smarter water use.