Wyoming Settles Conservation Easement Suit

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Attorney General's Office has succeeded in blocking the Johnson County Commission's attempt to terminate a conservation easement on a ranch east of Buffalo.

District Judge Wade Waldrip of Rawlins last week approved a settlement in a lawsuit that Attorney General Bruce Salzburg filed in 2008 against the county commission and ranch owners Fred and Linda Dowd.

Under the settlement, all parties to the case agree that the county's 2002 attempt to terminate the conservation easement on the Dowd's ranch is void. Land trusts nationwide have watched the Johnson County case closely. Conservation easements allow landowners to give up development rights to their property in exchange for income tax breaks.

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