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Cravaack: The bipartisan, state-passed land exchange WILL get done

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Published on Jun 8, 2012

U.S. Representative Chip Cravaack (MN-8) testified on behalf of H.R. 5544, the Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act, in the Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.

This legislation directs the federal government to execute the bi-partisan Minnesota plan to fund public education through revenues from utilizing Minnesota's school trust lands.

Approximately 86,000 acres of state trust lands are currently locked within the borders of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). These lands within the BWCAW cannot be logged, leased, or mined. Thus, they are not generating money for the school trust.

H.R. 5544, the Minnesota Education Investment and Employment Act, attempts to solve this problem by removing the state school trust lands from the BWCAW, so that they can again produce much needed revenue for our schools.

Under the bill, all 86,329 state-owned school trust funds lands will be exchanged outside the BWCAW to start earning revenues for Minnesota students. The state will receive equal surface and subsurface acreage for all land swapped out of the BWCAW. This legislation will ensure the land exchange takes place and the state of Minnesota receives the highest valued lands possible.

H.R. 5544 does not eliminate a single acre of Boundary Waters land. In fact, it will add wilderness acres to the existing BWCAW boundaries, making it whole for the first time in its existence. The bill will preserve hunting and fishing rights on federal land, and encourage multi-use on all new state lands. Overall, the school trust lands were created for the benefit of students. This legislation will allow these lands to fulfill their intended purpose of funding Minnesota schools.

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