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Land Swap Triggers CO Dustup WSJ

Land Swap Triggers CO Dustup WSJ

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POLITICSAUGUST 20, 2010
Dow Jones Reprints: This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers, use the OrderReprints tool at the bottom of any article or visitwww.djreprints.com  
Land Swap Triggers Colorado Dust-Up
WorldU.S.New York Business Markets Tech Personal Finance Life & Culture OpinionCareers Real Estate Small Business
BySTEPHANIE SIMON 
DENVERBillionaire energy magnate William Koch's 4,500-acre cattle ranch in western Colorado is split in two by a largestrip 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 federalagencies and land in two states, the deal can't be dispensed with through normal administrative process, which include localpublic hearings and a thorough environmental review. Instead, it must be handled by Congress, through legislationmandating the swap.That legislation has been introduced by Rep. John Salazar, a Democrat who represents the region (and who is the brother of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar) and who has received campaign contributions from Mr. Koch."There is always suspicion around a deal like this that is benefitting someone who is wealthy and influential...and this hasnot been a real open, public process," said Janine Blaeloch, director of the Western Lands Project, a nonprofit group thatmonitors land swaps and generally is opposed to transfers of public land into private hands.Mr. Koch's spokesman said he also has given to other Democratic candidates and causes, as well as to some Republicans."We support candidates where we do business," saidBrad Goldstein, a spokesman for Mr. Koch, adding thatthere is no "quid pro quo."
Tony Prendergast
Billionaire William Koch wants to trade land elsewhere to acquire a strip of federal land, including the road seenabove, that separates sections of his 4,500-acre ranch in Colorado.
Page 1 of 2Proposed Land Swap Triggers Colorado Dust-Up - WSJ.com#printMode8/23/2010http://online.ws .com/article/SB10001424052748703791804575439820252151734.html

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