Jason Chaffetz Pulls Bill Aiming to Sell Off Public Lands

Jason Chaffetz Pulls Bill Aiming to Sell Off Public Lands

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah's 3rd Congressional District introduced a bill to the U.S. House last week to sell more than 3.3 million acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property across 10 western states.

HR 621 is the abbreviated name of the bill, which would have directed the Interior Department to sell off 3.3 million acres of federal land including "to non-federal entities" across 10 western states, which Chaffetz had said were "small parcels of land" that former President Bill Clinton previously identified as "serving no public goal".

The 3.3 million acres of separate parcels were originally identified in 1997 by President Bill Clinton's administration.

Geltman says a move toward state oversight of public lands represents an effort to circumvent national management practices-like the National Environmental Policy Act-and will place an undue burden on individual states.

The companion bill dealing with law enforcement contended that local sheriffs should handle law enforcement issues, which would enable federal agencies and county sheriffs to each focus on their respective core missions.

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Jointly sponsored by Utah's Reps. "But I'm sure we won't see the end of hare-brained schemes like this from members of Congress opposed to the concept of public lands". The latter would remove law enforcement capabilities from the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service.

"The long overdue disposal of excess federal lands will free up resources for the federal government while providing much-needed opportunities for economic development in struggling rural communities", Chaffetz said in a statement at the time.

"Last I checked, hunters and fishermen were taxpayers", said Amaro, who lives in a New Mexico county where 70,000 acres of federal lands are singled out.

"Trump's allies in Washington laid the tracks for this land takeover scheme the moment they started their legislative session, and now they're driving a locomotive over the American people and our wild natural heritage", the group's senior government relations director Alan Rowsome said in a statement. The Wilderness Society values that industry at over $646 billion.

The Outdoor Industry Association in Boulder shows the outdoor recreation economy, which leans heavily on accessing public lands, delivers a $646 billion economic impact to the US and employs 6.1 million Americans. The majority of Americans - including Utah voters - want more protection of public lands, not more fossil fuel production. Chaffetz introduced it January 24, just over a week before committed to withdrawing it, and he or other legislators had introduced it in previous congressional sessions.