Thursday, September 05, 2013

Land Office proposes plan for BLM property

State Land Commissioner Ray Powell on Wednesday outlined a new plan that would see the State Land Office obtaining more federal lands for economic development. The Bureau of Land Management has designated several areas as “disposal lands,” or lands that no longer fit the mission of the Bureau of Land Management. They’re unsuitable for recreation, preservation or conservation. But, Powell told Business First, they are ripe for development. “The plan is to look at the inventory there. Over the last year they (BLM) have given us a map of each of their five districts. We assessed which of those lands would fit our mission,” Powell said. Powell sees the federal lands as an opportunity to build something where nothing is being built, such as wind and solar farms, or commercial developments. “That would be a significant revenue stream for education,” Powell said. But the BLM can’t simply give the lands away on its own. Powell said he is working with the state’s Congressional delegation and trying to drum up local support to have the BLM obtain the necessary approval from Congress to grant the land it can’t use to the state...more

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