Federal land transfer bill axed
A bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last week proposing the transfer of 3.3 million acres of federal public land in the West, including more than 1,700 acres in Garfield County, has been withdrawn following public outcry.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, announced via social media Wednesday night that he would withdraw the bill, H.R. 621.
“The bill would have disposed of small parcels of lands (President Clinton) identified as serving no public purpose but groups I support and care about fear it sends the wrong message,” Chaffetz wrote.
“The bill was originally introduced several years ago. I look forward to working with you. I hear you and HR 621 dies tomorrow. #keepitpublic #tbt”
This plan was based on federal public lands identified by President Bill Clinton’s administration in 1997 as possibly suitable for sale or exchange to finance a restoration project in the Everglades.
The Carbondale-based Wilderness Workshop reported that this included more than 93,000 acres in Colorado. And the 1997 report lists more than 1,700 acres in Garfield County.
There has been no word, however, on a companion bill, H.R. 622, which Chaffetz has also sponsored, that would eliminate the U.S. Forest Service’s and Bureau of Land Management’s law enforcement role. The bill would instead hand that jurisdiction to local sheriffs’ offices.
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