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Wed March 5, 2014
Grand Teton Land Swap Bill Heads To Conference Committee
A bill that would set up a land swap with the federal government for state-owned lands inside Grand Teton National Park is still a ways from being resolved. Senators are leery that the state may not get fair value for state trust lands inside the park.
The Federal government has offered mineral lands in exchange for the state property, but Laramie Senator Phil Nicholas says changes the House made to the bill give the State Lands Investment Board too much power. He says the property inside the park is valued at $100 million and it's up to legislators to make sure they are not giving it away for less than it's worth.
"It'd be different if they said bring the sale back to us and we'll judge it," Nicholas says. " You never get to judge this trade again."
Jackson Senator Leland Christensen fears that too many changes in the bill could jeopardize the swap. Devils Tower Senator Ogden Driskill said the legislation is important to the state for a number of reasons. The bill is now in a conference committee. The Legislature wraps up work on Thursday.