Sheep grazing near Worland, Wyoming, in 1940. (photo: BLM)
I knew it wasn’t going to be good for wild horses & burros when I read that the original Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act expired, and that Nevada’s Dean Heller was co-sponsoring S. 368, a new “reauthorization” which would be in effect for 10 years. And sure enough, when looking at state fact sheets of the impact of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization of 2015 (FLTFA), it’s clear that FLTFA will promote the chance for ranchers to buy checkerboard land, and benefit the livestock interests, especially in Wyoming. Leading the charge in the House for H.R. 2068 is Rep. Lummis (R-WY).
The state fact sheet for Wyoming states “FLTFA is important to ranchers, as well as over 100 groups. The Wyoming Stock Growers Association, Wyoming Stock Growers Agricultural Land Trust, Public Lands Council, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Boone and Crockett, and over 100 other groups support FLTFA reauthorization. Public lands are important to ranchers for grazing. FLTFA sales also provide an opportunity for a rancher with a BLM tract of land within or adjacent to his or her property to purchase the property, possibly to expand the ranch, prevent a liability from having a public inholding, or other purposes.”
And “WYOMING BLM AND LAND SALES Land available for disposal: at least 561,829 acres. The Rock Springs Field Office ranks in the top seven BLM field offices that generated 97% of FLTFA revenue as of May 31, 2007. Several sales in southwestern Wyoming, the most notable being the sale of 722.5 acres to PacifiCorp – in the Rock Springs Field Office.”
It seems like the BLM has been getting rid of Wyoming’s wild horses so they can outright sell the checkerboard public lands to private livestock ranchers, oil companies, and other special interests. – Debbie
SOURCE: The Nature Conservancy
Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization Introduced in U.S. Senate
U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Dean Heller (R-NV) have introduced the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization of 2015 (FLTFA). Reauthorizing FLTFA will bring back a mechanism that allows proceeds from Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land sales to fund critical land conservation in the West at BLM conservation areas, national parks, national wildlife refuges and on national forests. Original cosponsors of this FLTFA reauthorization include Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Steve Daines (R-MT).
“The Nature Conservancy supports this bill and the use of proceeds from strategic land sales—which have already been identified through BLM land use plans—to accomplish high-priority conservation work on federally managed lands,” said Brent Keith, Senior Policy Advisor for The Nature Conservancy. “Reauthorization of FLTFA brings back the principle of ‘land-for-land’ transactions where the sale of strategic public lands not only reduces administrative costs to the BLM, but generates funding to protect other lands. We appreciate the bipartisan leadership of Senators Heinrich and Heller in working to reauthorize this program.”
Congress passed FLTFA in 2000, and the program successfully generated more than $100 million for public land conservation before it expired in 2011. The Conservancy is one of more than 150 diverse organizations supporting reauthorization of FLTFA.
Through FLTFA’s “land for land” program, BLM sells land identified for disposal to public and private landowners to consolidate land ownership, create jobs, support economic development and increase revenues to counties by putting land on the tax rolls. These sales generate funding for federal agencies to acquire critical inholdings from willing sellers in certain designated areas. BLM has sold land to benefit both the private sector and municipalities, including ranchers, timber interests, real estate companies, a community college, and counties for both public and private purposes.
Federal land sales provide revenue for program administration and federal agencies to acquire high-priority lands with important recreational access for hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, and other recreational activities, as well as properties with historic, scenic and cultural resources. These new places help the local tourism economy through recreational equipment sales, hotels, restaurants, gas stations and more. And, because it is self-financed through BLM land sales, FLTFA does not require taxpayer funds.
Without FLTFA, revenue from sales of BLM lands goes directly to the U.S. Treasury and not to conservation.