I am a longtime bow hunter and have hunted the White Peak area since 1976. I have been following closely State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons’ proposals to trade State Trust Land to private ranchers in order to “consolidate” parcels of private and state land in the White Peak area. Rather than beat a dead horse with details of the controversy, I would instead like to point out another very important issue that could have possibly avoided this entire mess.
The “power” that the land commissioner holds drastically needs to be addressed. As keeper of “our” lands, this agency is one of the most important in our state government. The power to wheel and deal and trade away our precious land at will, should not be in the sole possession of one individual. The proposed negotiations should be made by a board of qualified individuals who could weigh all options and follow procedures and process in the proper manner as prescribed by law.
At present, through the directive of the Supreme Court, the land swaps have been temporarily halted. However, now the matter is going to have to be settled in court. This will be a cost to taxpayers — a lot of money, but the issue must be addressed.
For those not aware of what the land swaps will accomplish, let me just say that opposition to the swaps far outweighs the proponents.
To our legislators, I ask: What will it take to remove this power from the land commissioner? Maybe this needs to be addressed in the next legislative session.
To Patrick Lyons, I ask: Why, since you have less than a year left in office, are you so adamant about getting this deal done? What could your motives possibly be? You are certainly not creating a positive legacy for yourself. I suggest you let it go and let the next commissioner deal with it.
Salomón Maese Jr.