Grand Teton land deal funding uncertain
Written byThe Associated Press
Wyoming officials including Gov. Matt Mead are starting to worry that the federal government might renege on a $107 million deal to buy more than two square miles of state land within Grand Teton National Park.
The Interior Department has begun signaling that the $16 million second phase of the four-phase purchase — the first significant installment since Interior paid Wyoming $2,000 for 40 acres of inconsequential mineral rights earlier this year — might not happen in January as planned, said Ryan Lance, director of the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments.
Last week, the U.S. House passed a six-month federal spending bill that includes funding for the Interior Department. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation this week and send it to President Barack Obama to sign. The bill doesn’t contain a specific appropriation for the next phase of the Grand Teton land deal: The purchase of 86 acres of state land along the Snake River.
Under the deal approved by the Legislature and signed by Mead last year, Wyoming would be free to find some other buyer for the land if Interior reneged at any point.VIEW ORIGINAL ARTICLE