GRAND JUNCTION — A federal land agency has proposed transferring federal lands to the state of Colorado to pay off a government debt dating back more than a century and is now seeking comment on the proposal.
The Daily Sentinel reports that the Bureau of Land Management has proposed giving 28 square miles of federal lands and minerals and another 9 square miles of federal mineral estate to the state.
Officials from the state Board of Land Commissioners say a petition was filed for land and mineral estate in lieu of land never previously received.
Officials say the land proposed for exchange wouldn’t impact access to public lands used for recreation purposes.
Officials say existing oil and gas leases would also remain in effect under the proposal.
Federal officials say the transfer would satisfy the debt it owed the state in 1876.
The obligation arises from the federal government’s practice of giving states joining the union after the Revolutionary War a certain number of one-mile sections to be held in trust, mostly to support public schools, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported. Colorado was to receive two sections per 36-square-mile township.
Officials say the state never got those lands because they were included in an Indian reservation or forest reserve or national forest.
Our articles are free to read, but not free to report
Support local journalism around the state.
Become a member of The Colorado Sun today!
The latest from The Sun
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death pours intensity on, could reshape Colorado’s hotly contested Senate race
- The $300 “Lost Wages” bonus begins, Amazon is hiring like crazy and answers from Colorado’s labor department
- Colorado oil and gas emissions rules begin to tighten, but gaps open over what is monitored, by whom and where
- Littwin: Anyone who has seen dementia up close knows not to fall for attacks on Joe Biden’s mental fitness
- Colorado co-authors wrote parallel storylines in “Light in the Shadows” — reflecting their individual interests