Wyden, Bipartisan Western Senators introduce bill to protect public lands, promote economic growth

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., has joined a group of bipartisan western Senators in introducing a bill to reauthorize an expired law that allowed the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service in the western United States to use the proceeds from sales of certain federally designated areas to protect lands of exceptional conservation value.

The success of these programs has shown that economic growth and environmental conservation do not have to be mutually exclusive concepts,” Wyden said. “This bipartisan bill proves that Congress can develop common-sense strategies to public lands management that will protect some of our most precious and vulnerable lands, while encouraging economic growth without damaging our special places.

For more than a decade until it expired in 2011, the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA) allowed the preservation of important sites across the western United States without the use of taxpayer money. The program also assisted in better land management practices by disposing of isolated or difficult to manage parcels identified by the public land management agencies themselves.

Additional cosponsors of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act are U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Dean Heller, (R-Nev.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), James Risch, (R-Idaho), Michael Bennet, (D-Colo.), Mike Crapo, (R-Idaho), Cory Gardner, (R-Colo.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

The legislation is supported by more than 165 groups, including many sportsmen, recreation, conservation, and historic preservation groups, such as The Conservation Fund, The Trust for Public Land, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, New Mexico Wildlife Federation, and Nevada Land Trust. A list of groups is available here.

A copy of the bill is available here.