The Sante Fe group Forest Guardians is hoping to raise $1 million to boot cattle from thousands of state-owned acres in Arizona and New Mexico. In late November, the group won a case before Arizona’s Supreme Court that ended a state policy of allowing only ranchers to lease state school trust land, which includes about 8.3 million acres. The high court said the Arizona Land Department should instead grant the leases to the highest bidder, therefore maximizing the amount of money available for state schools. Ranchers are irate about the ruling, though the state may retain some small ability to tilt the bidding in their favor. After years of frustration, enviros (and some conservative free-market groups) are in seventh heaven. With 1 million bucks, John Horning of Forest Guardians said his group could control 50,000 to 100,000 acres of the most ecologically important school trust land.

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