Representative Chip Cravaack has introduced federal legislation to authorize an exchange of state lands within the Boundary Waters for federal land outside.
The Duluth News Tribune has the full story HERE.
The move by Minnesota’s 8th district congressman come on the heels of the state legislature’s approval of a plan to trade state-owned land embedded in the federally managed Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for federal land in the Superior National Forest. Cravaack’s plan would compel the U.S. Forest Service to trade for about 86,000 acres of state land.
The state of Minnesota is eager to make a trade so that it can earn income through logging and mining from lands it owns, something forbidden in the BWCAW. Much of the money generated after the swap would fund the state’s school trust fund.
Cravaack’s bill dovetails with the state legislature’s bill — signed into law in late-April by Governor Mark Dayton — that would swap equal amounts of lands between the state and the U.S. Forest Service.
Environmental advocates are critical of Cravaack’s proposal and the state legislation, saying that a federal cash purchase of the lands would better fund the school trust and better protect the environment. The Sierra Club and other advocates are pressing the state’s U.S. Senators to introduce legislation for purchase the land.
A compromise proposal hammered out by an array of state and federal stakeholders that would have sold some lands and exchanged others, was scrapped by the state legislature for the all-exchange plan.