Suspend Federal Land Purchases

  • Potential 10 Year Savings: $2.3 Billion
  • Sponsor: Rep. Steve Stivers
  • Legislation: H.R. 4193
  • Status: Committee Hearing

The federal government currently owns roughly one-third of all land in the United States, including more than 80 percent of Nevada and Alaska, and more than half of Idaho, Oregon, and Utah. A 1999 report by the Congressional Budget Office pointed out that federal agencies such as the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management might protect the environment better "by improving management in currently held areas rather than providing minimal management over a larger domain." In 2003, the Government Accountability Office reported that the National Park Service's maintenance backlog was more than $5 billion. Since then, federal land acquisitions have accelerated, placing even greater burdens on an obviously inefficient and overstrained system. The Obama administration has proposed to increase federal land purchases in FY 2012 by nearly 200 percent above the enacted FY 2011 level of $235 million.