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Know the West

Land swap reporter comments

  Dear HCN,

Readers of Andy Wiessner's letter about land exchanges (HCN, 5/10/99) might have been better able to evaluate his criticisms of Janine Blaeloch and the Western Land Exchange Project had he acknowledged that he was a consultant to Plum Creek Timber Co. on the Interstate 90 exchange.

Yes, the I-90 exchange will result in some environmental gains. But they are at least in part the result of Blaeloch's determined opposition to the trade, which forced Plum Creek into a legislated exchange which would be virtually immune to lawsuits. To get any environmental support at all for this unpopular alternative, the company had to sweeten the deal considerably.

The legislation, which slipped through Congress as a rider on the infamous Omnibus Appropriations Bill of 1998, contains language that encourages yet more Plum Creek exchanges.

Lynne Bama

Wapiti, Wyoming

Lynne Bama wrote the article, "Wheeling and dealing," on Western land exchanges, in the March 29, 1999, High Country News.