The Public Access and Lands Improvement Act (H.R. 2954)
Status: Passed the House on February 5, 2014 with a bipartisan vote of 220-194. Awaits consideration by the Senate.
The Public Access and Lands Improvement Act is a bipartisan package of 10 bills to protect and promote public access to lands; improve opportunities by removing red tape that stands in the way of responsible, local economic development and jobs; and encourage transparent, community-centered land management.

This grouping of bills will advance important local projects that will have a direct impact on jobs and economic growth in communities throughout the country.

The Public Access and Lands Improvement Act:

Title I: Escambia County, FL Land Conveyance (H.R. 2954 – Miller-FL)

  • Allows communities to make better decisions and better use of lands that they have possessed since 1946 without outdated and unnecessary bureaucratic strings attached. It would also retain public access to the beaches and conservation areas on the island.

Title II: Anchorage Land Conveyance (H.R. 585 – Young-AK)

  • Allows the city of Anchorage to make the best use of three parcels of lands that are currently unused because of unnecessary strings attached by the federal government.

Title III: Fernley, NV Land Conveyance (H.R. 1170 – Amodei)

  • Provides the city of Fernley, Nevada the opportunity to purchase 9,407 acres of federally owned land within city boundaries at fair market value for future economic development, public use, and open space.

Title IV: Land Disposal Transparency and Efficiency Act (H.R. 2095 – Bishop)

  • Requires the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to establish an online database for all BLM lands that are available for sale to the public while limiting all future land acquisitions until this database is established. The BLM has this information, and in the year 2014 it is unacceptable that it has not put this information online so it is easily accessible to the public. By centralizing and making public a database of land the BLM has already determined should be disposed of, the bill will help the federal government efficiently sell land it has determined to be excess.

Title V: Cape Hatteras Recreation Access (H.R. 819 – Jones)

  • Protects jobs and small businesses in Eastern North Carolina by stopping federal bureaucrats from closing down reasonable pedestrian and motorized access to Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area in North Carolina.

Title VI: Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act (H.R. 908 – DelBene)

  • Preserves an historic tower, the Green Mountain Lookout, in the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest that is in danger of being torn down as a result of a lawsuit by an extremist group. Tearing it down would cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and deny visitors the opportunity to visit a historic landmark.

Title VII: River Paddling Protection Act (H.R. 3492 – Lummis)

  • Removes decades-old and antiquated regulations that block the use of hand-propelled vessels, such as kayaks, on many rivers and tributaries within Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the National Elk Refuge. This will provide new recreational opportunities and promote tourism.

Title VIII: Grazing Improvement Act (H.R. 657 – Labrador)

  • Improves and streamlines the process for renewing livestock grazing permits and extends the length of permits to provide a stable economic environment. It helps family businesses and ranchers by cutting increasingly burdensome red tape, preserving jobs, growing the economy, and protecting the environment.

Title IX: Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act (H.R. 3188 – McClintock)

  • Expedites the planning and implementation of emergency salvage timber sales for federal lands in California that were ravaged by the Rim Fire in the summer of 2013. Without prompt emergency action, the impacts of this devastating wildfire would become even worse. Fire-damaged trees invite disease, insect infestations, increase the risk of future wildfires, and are a threat to visitor safety. The trees also quickly lose their salvage value. Because of bureaucratic red-tape and environmental litigation, salvage activities are often delayed passed the time when post-fire restoration, including salvage of dead timber can be effectively undertaken. These delays block timely efforts to improve forest regeneration and wildlife habitat, as well as reduce watershed impacts and erosion.
  • Timber salvage from the Rim Fire could be sold to raise hundreds of millions of dollars and this revenue can be used to replant and restore the devastated forest.

Title X: Chesapeake Bay Accountability and Recovery Act (H.R. 739 – Wittman)

  • Facilitates clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed by improving the management, accountability, transparency, and efficiency of restoration efforts.

Bill Information:

Related Videos:

Chairman Hastings' Statement on H.R. 2954, the Public Access and Lands Improvement Act (2/6/2014)

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