House Resources Committee Passes FLTFA Reauthorization

House Resources Committee Passes FLTFA Reauthorization

On March 7, the House Natural Resources Committee unanimously passed legislation that would permanently reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA). The legislation, H.R. 5133, was introduced by Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and cosponsored by Rep. Scott Tiption (R-CO) and Greg Gianforte (R-MT).

“With this reauthorization, we improve and expand upon a program that has been a win for conservation, thoughtful land use decisions and greater economic development opportunities across the West,” commented Chairman Bishop. “The bill also requires BLM to make public land data more accessible and available creating greater public awareness, transparency and local input in future land decisions. I look forward to working with colleagues and stakeholder supporters on a path to the president’s desk.”

FLTFA was originally enacted in 2000 and was intended to facilitate strategic land sales by the Bureau of Land Management to provide funding for high-priority land conservation in the 11 contiguous western states. The law allowed BLM to generate $113 million from land sales that was used on 39 conservation projects that protected important habitat areas or consolidated land ownership in “checkerboard” areas. The authorization for FLTFA expired in July 2011 and Congress had been unsuccessful in efforts to reauthorize the program. The reauthorization bill maintains “modified land exchange” provisions from the original FLTFA which enable the BLM to sell a parcel without identifying a specific exchange parcel in the process. Through FLTFA, they could sell a parcel and direct the land sale proceeds into a Federal Land Disposal Account that are then used toward additional land conservation.

“Both local economies and the environment benefit from FLTFA—it is a win for the West to bring this lands program back,” said Larry Selzer, President and CEO of The Conservation Fund, the organization leading the FLTFA Reauthorization Coalition. “We are grateful for Chairman Bishop’s and others’ leadership on the bill and look forward to working with Congress on reauthorizing FLTFA, a common-sense solution for America.”

Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Dean Heller (R-NV) have introduced a permanent FLTFA reauthorization bill in the Senate (S. 2185) that has broad bipartisan support as well.

March 16, 2018