U.S. News


Congress Members Are Trying To Sell Millions Of Acres Of Public Land

Rep. Jason Chaffetz believes the land serves "no purpose for taxpayers."
Posted at 11:22 AM, Feb 01, 2017

Some Republican Congress members are inching closer to giving away millions of acres of public land.

The latest draft of rules for the 115th U.S. Congress was released in early January. Those rules contain a section that changes the value of federal lands. 

Basically, the transfer or sale of public land is no longer considered "economically significant," which makes it much easier for Congress to give it away. 

Now, Rep. Jason Chaffetz has introduced a bill that aims to sell off 3.3 million acres of public land. The Utah representative claims the land serves "no purpose for taxpayers."

That land spans 10 different states — and it appears conservationists and some government officials aren't on board with the plan.

Not only is the land used for oil, timber and recreation, it also serves as a home to big game and brings in millions of dollars in economic activity from fishing and hunting.

Chaffetz has proposed the bill a few times in the past. But even more interesting is what comes paired with it. 

Chaffetz wants to take away the authority of the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service police and instead give that power to a local authority, like a sheriff.

The bill was introduced in late January. Now it's moving for a vote in the House.