A congressman in Utah introduced a bill that would allow for the sale of more than 3 million acres of public land across 10 Western states. It was a bill that was reintroduced and didn’t pass before because it was unpopular then and remains unpopular. The language of the bill is unfriendly with sportsmen and lawmakers alike.
Chaffetz failed to find a co-sponsor for this bill when he introduced it last year. He’s attempting to do it again.
Excerpt from FieldandStream:
Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah reintroduced a bill (H.R. 621) that calls for the sale of 3.3 million acres of federally owned federally owned public lands across 10 Western states. The lands, according to a statement issued by Chaffetz’s office, “serve no purpose” for taxpayers, and the disposal of these properties would relieve the federal government of management costs, as well as provide economic opportunities for rural communities.
The lands in question were identified as being suitable for sale by the Clinton Administration. But whether the lands “serve no purpose” and are worth disposing of remains up for debate. Much of the land that could be sold is popular among hunters, fishermen, and campers. Moreover, the BLM notes that land once identified as available for disposal may later have been found to contain oil-and-gas potential, and be home to threatened and endangered species. The bill, however, does not make clear exactly which parcels identified by the Clinton Administration may be sold.
Chaffetz also reintroduced a bill (H.R. 622) that aims to rid the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service of their law-enforcement functions. The bill calls for deputizing local law enforcement, who will then carry out policing BLM and Forest Service lands. “If there is a problem, your local sheriff is the first and best line of defense,” said Chaffetz in a statement. “By restoring local control in law enforcement, we enable federal agencies and county sheriffs to each focus on their respective core missions.”