Seattle Times expose,
                                        GOVERNMENT'S LAND EXCHANGES IN THE WEST
                                    RAISE A NEW SPECTRE OF ENVIRONMENTAL SECRECY

A stunning six part series of articles ran in the Seattle Times Sep. 27 to Oct 2, tearing the lid off of a new corporate and environmental secrecy scandal the use of well-shielded land swaps to give away public lands to private corporations.  
        
Investigators have determined that millions of dollars in taxpayer value is being given away to corporations by means of inappropriate  barters of land. The companies, especially forest and mining companies, typically manage to acquire the lands by preparing or arranging for biased appraisals, which deflate the value of government lands and inflate the value of land held by the corporations.

These appraisals are shrouded in secrecy until the swap is a done deal. Then the only way to challenge the deals is for taxpayers to sue. The articles also profile retaliatory firings of government whistleblowers who attempted to put a halt to these giveaways.  
          

You can read the entire series online at www.seattletimes.com , or by following the links below:  

        Part 1: Government land trades leave questions about how public fared  
               >Mining Company Phelps Dodge Uses Very Close Ties with Government in Land Swaps
        Part 2: Private owners play games of backcountry speculation  
        Part 3: Environmental groups profit from land trades  
        Part 4: Federal appraisers sometimes find their decisions mean trouble  
        Part 5: How congressional pressure can sway land exchanges  
        Part 6: The Future of Land Exchanges  

Possible solutions to land-trade problems

 Additional information contact:  

        Janine Blaeloch , Western Land Exchange Project blaeloch@westlx.org  
        Sanford Lewis, gnproject@earthlink.net  
          


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