March 17, 2011
Washington, DC – Today Congressman Jason Chaffetz introduced HR 1126, the Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act. Senator Mike Lee and Senator John McCain are also introducing similar legislation in the Senate.
In a 1997 Clinton Administration report performed by the Interior Department, the Bureau of Land Management identified approximately 3.3 million acres of land deemed suitable for sale to non-federal entities. HR 1126 would responsibly dispose of the nearly 3.3 million acres of land the federal government reported it does not need. This disposal would equate to just over 1% of BLM land and less than one half of 1% of all federal lands. In Utah there would be 132,931 acres of eligible land.
“While there are national treasures worthy of federal protection, there are lands that should be returned to private ownership,” said Rep. Chaffetz. “If the land serves no public purpose, and is ‘identified for disposal’ let’s return it to private ownership.”
“It’s been more than a decade since the land was deemed suitable for disposal and there is no critical need for the federal government to hold on to it,” said Sen. Lee. “The sale of the land alone could generate more than a $1 billion, and then there is the economic benefit of putting the land to good use. That could mean jobs, future growth, and better prosperity for the surrounding areas. It’s good for the state of Utah and I am happy to work with Representative Chaffetz in supporting the move.”