Billionaire William Koch wants to trade land elsewhere to acquire a strip of federal land, including the road seen above, that separates sections of his 4,500-acre ranch in Colorado…"There is always suspicion around a deal like this that is benefitting someone who is wealthy and influential…and this has not been a real open, public process," said Janine Blaeloch, director of the Western Lands Project, a nonprofit group that monitors land swaps and generally is opposed to transfers of public land into private hands.
COLORADO REAL ESTATE — Billionaire energy magnate William Koch’s 4,500-acre cattle ranch in western Colorado is split in two by a large strip of federal land—and he wants to change that.The government land includes a road that takes hunters and hikers into a popular national forest, but some visitors stray and trespass onto Mr. Koch’s property, according to his ranch manager. So Mr. Koch wants to take title to the federal land—and close the road—by swapping the parcel for land he owns elsewhere in the West.But the way the swap would be executed has drawn criticism in the region. Because the proposal involves multiple federal agencies and land in two states, the deal can’t be dispensed with through normal administrative process, which include local public hearings and a thorough environmental review. Instead, it must be handled by Congress, through legislation mandating the swap.
By Stephanie Simon, August 20, 2010 WSJ
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08/20/10 wsj Billionaire Land Swap Proposal Stirs up Dust