Nolan Says Land Swap Bill On Hold

U.S. Representative-elect Rick Nolan says that the land swap bill that would trade state-owned land in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness for federal land is probably dead this year.

Representative Rick Nolan on election night. Photo from the Brainerd Dispatch.

An Associated Press article reports that Nolan believes there isn’t enough bipartisan support to get it passed before the end of the congressional session. While Representative Chip Cravaack, whom Nolan defeated in the most recent election, successfully championed its passage in the House of Representatives, there is no companion bill in the Senate.

The land in question is held in the School Trust Fund, land given to Minnesota during the 1800s to support its schools. According to the Associated Press article, about 2.5 million acres remain in the trust and provide about $17 million per year to Minnesota schools.

But about 86,000 acres are locked in the BWCAW, where they can’t be mined or logged for revenue. Nolan hopes that in the future he’ll be able to put together a bipartisan proposal for a land swap that makes everyone comfortable.

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