Land Exchange Reversal

New Mexico – State Land Commissioner Ray Powell on Tuesday reversed a land swap his predecessor made in northeastern New Mexico.

Powell's decision over the White Peak area returns the land in Colfax and Mora counties to the Land Office from a private citizen.

The action reverses the decision of former Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons and complies with a state Supreme Court mandate.

Lyons negotiated the land exchange in 2009.

State Attorney General Gary King challenged it, claiming Lyons violated the law by approving the swap of 7,205 acres of trust land for 3,330 acres of ranch land without a public auction.

The Supreme Court in January rejected the land exchange.

The justices ruled the Land Office had not followed the requirement for a public auction of trust land.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.