Richardson Concerned About Land Swap

New Mexico – Gov. Bill Richardson says he's concerned about a proposed land swap in northeast New Mexico that would result in a net loss to the state of almost 4,000 acres of alpine meadows and pristine forest.

Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons has said the proposed trade in the White Peak area would reduce conflicts among landowners, sportsmen and the state by better consolidating state trust land.

Sportsmen argue the deal would only benefit private landowners and eliminate public access to hunting and recreational areas.

Richardson says he's concerned about how the proposed swap was arranged, with sealed bids and virtually no public notice. He says until the concerns are addressed, he nor his departments and commissions can support this "ill-conceived deal."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.