New Mexico land swap revived at national monument

Oct 4, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico is moving forward with a proposed land swap that would hand over state holdings within a national monument and wilderness area to the U.S. Interior Department in return for scattered federal holdings that can provide the state with greater lease income. New Mexico State Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn announced Wednesday that the proposal was back on track to divest state holdings within the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument and Sabinoso Wilderness Area. Years-long negotiations were suspended as President Donald Trump ordered a review of national monument designations across the country by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Dunn says the exchange would boost state income and improve federal recreation areas. Under a signed agreement, land appraisals are required and subject to public review, along with environmental assessments.