Schweitzer Ponders Land Swap with Feds


The following is portion of an article from the Great Falls Tribune:

HELENA — Supporters of the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument are urging Gov. Brian Schweitzer to begin the process of consolidating public land management within the 375,000-acre monument.

Schweitzer met Wednesday with representatives from Friends of the Missouri Breaks, the Wilderness Society and the Montana Wilderness Association to discuss the proposal.

Supporters of the plan want the state to trade 37,615 acres of state lands intermingled with private and federal lands inside the monument for Bureau of Land Management lands elsewhere in the state.

John Todd, Northern Prairie Campaign coordinator for the Wilderness Society, said consolidating 116 parcels of dispersed state lands would be better for the monument — and a good deal for taxpayers.

“State lands and federal lands are managed for different purposes,” Todd said. “It makes sense to have the entire monument managed in a consistent manner.”

Todd said consolidated tracts of state land allow the state to reap more revenue for education funding than individual dispersed parcels, meaning school districts could rely less on local property tax levies to pay for education.

Schweitzer said he would consider the proposal, but only if Montana would “come out ahead on the deal” in terms of the state’s ability to generate more revenue for schools.

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Source:  Great Falls Tribune

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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