Commissioner wants Cannon land if closed

The Associated Press

SANTA FE — The state’s land commissioner said Monday he would take action to regain state trust lands in eastern New Mexico if Cannon Air Force Base is closed.

State Land Commissioner Patrick Lyons said in a letter to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission that he will seek the return of about 80,000 acres of state trust land that surrounds the base and the Melrose Bombing Range in Clovis.

The land, acquired by the base through Department of Defense exchanges with the state, is worth about $1.50 per acre per year in agriculture, Lyons said.

The land could also be used for public schools, universities, hospitals and water programs.

Lyons said he would be willing to take the fight to regain the land to court, if need be.

“If the federal government can’t see what an asset Cannon is to our military and pull out, I want our land back so we can earn more money for New Mexico’s school children,” Lyons said.