U.S. House Passes Bill to Swap BWCA Land for School Trust Fund

By KBJR News 1

U.S. House Passes Bill to Swap BWCA Land for School Trust Fund

September 12, 2012 Updated Sep 12, 2012 at 4:14 PM CDT

Washington D.C. (Northland’s NewsCenter) --- The U-S House of Representatives has passed a bill that could end a 30 year land dispute between Minnesota and Federal lawmakers concerning land locked inside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

But this is just one step before 86,000 acres of land in the BWCA can be swapped for other land outside the protected wilderness area.

Representative Chip Cravaack authored the bill in the hopes of creating a situation that would provide money for education through use of the land in the trust.

Before the BWCA was designated a wilderness area within the Superior National Forest in the 1970's, the school trust fund land could be logged or mined for revenue for the state's public schools.
However, once the National Forest Service designated the area wilderness any land in the BWCA could no longer be used to make money.

Now federal lawmakers are trying to fix what happened 34 years ago.

Many Democrats have expressed concern that tourism, recreational businesses, hunting and fishing could be negatively impacted by the land swap but Republican lawmakers support the plan saying that schools need revenue the generating land.

The bill states that Minnesota must provide an assessor to evaluate the price of each trust land in order to estimate how much money can be put toward education funds.

If this bill is signed into law by the President, the swap of trust land from the BWCA would have to take place within a year of the enactment of the bill.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns