Regional
11:03 am
Wed February 3, 2010

Supreme Court Halts Land Swap

New Mexico – The state Supreme Court has granted an emergency petition by Attorney General Gary King to temporarily halt exchanges of state trust lands for private land in northern New Mexico's White Peak area until the court can consider legal arguments.

King asked the justices Monday to rule on whether Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons can constitutionally go through with the trades, which have been strongly criticized by sportsmen's groups.

Lyons proposes trading 14,000 acres of state trust land for 9,600 acres owned by four White Peak ranches.

He and public land resources assistant director Brian Henington say they followed a process used in land trades for decades.

Lyons' office says other land exchanges over the years could be thrown into doubt if the court ultimately rules in the attorney general's favor.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.