Lee, McCain Submit Bill to Reduce Ownership of Federal Lands

March 17, 2011

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee of Utah and Senator John McCain of Arizona introduced legislation to reduce federal ownership of certain public lands and allow the land to be sold for more productive purposes. The bill directs the Secretary of Interior to dispose of federal lands identified in a 1997 Clinton Administration report deemed suitable for sale. Under this legislation, the amount of land sold would be equal to roughly 1% of all land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and less than one half of one percent of all federal land. Representative Jason Chaffetz, also of Utah, recently introduced a similar bill in the House.

“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 Senator Lee. “The sale of the land alone could generate more than a $1 billion, and there is further economic benefit of putting the land to good use. That will 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 Senator McCain and my fellow Utahn Representative Chaffetz in the House in supporting the move.”

“The federal budget, much like the household budgets of millions of American families, is stretched alarmingly thin in today’s fiscal climate,” said Senator McCain. “Congress must explore all possible avenues for reducing our $1.4 trillion deficit and ballooning $14 trillion national debt. Our legislation aims to reduce the federal estate in a way that’s mindful of how we currently manage our public lands and seeks to dispose land that the federal government simply does not want.”

The bill is titled “The Reducing Federal Ownership of Public Lands Act”.