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Alarming real estate deal

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:

I am very concerned that the present administration in Washington has handed a multinational mining company 155 acres of federally owned, prime mountaintop real estate near Crested Butte for a price of $5 an acre (that’s $875)! One-tenth of an acre in that area fetches as much as $100,000.

Phelps Dodge Corp. applied for nine patents on U.S. Forest Service land at the top of Mount Emmons, also known as the “Red Lady,” just three miles west of the Crested Butte ski area. The area, which lies within the boundaries of Gunnison National Forest, is the site of a long-standing battle between mining interests and the local community, which has since filed suit against the federal Bureau of Land Management protesting its sale of the patents. The suit is being brought by the Gunnison County Board of Commissioners, the Town of Crested Butte and High Country Citizens’ Alliance.

Phelps Dodge claims the land can be used to operate a molybdenum mine, yet in legal documents filed two years ago in a separate case, the company argued that establishing a mine on that land would be fiscally “reckless.”

Observers believe the company is more likely to develop the land into vacation homes.

Laura Van Dyne

Carbondale


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