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Issue Overview

The Committee has jurisdiction over all laws, regulations, and policy governing federal lands across the United States. The Committee is focused on proper multiple-use federal land management, from guaranteeing public access for recreational opportunities to expanding responsible natural resource development. State and local stakeholders are the best stewards of the land because they have the knowledge, expertise, and experience of living off of the land. The Committee is advancing policies that empower state, local, and private property owners, who are increasingly being saddled by the bureaucracy, punitive enforcement and regulatory overreach of the federal government. Further, many of the laws governing matters related to federal lands are outdated and, in many cases, have never been amended to meet existing needs. 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), for example, was created in 1965 with the purpose to “preserve, develop and ensure access to outdoor recreation facilities to strengthen the health of the U.S. citizens.”  Under the original LWCF authorization, 60 percent of the funds in the program were specifically set aside for the Stateside Program, which provides matching grants to states for recreation planning and locally supported land-use projects. Since that time, the program has drifted far from the original intent. Each year, more and more LWCF funds are diverted away from localities and are being used by the federal government to buy more land – at a time when federal land management agencies already have a 20 billion dollar maintenance backlog. In 2015, LWCF Stateside received just 16 percent of LWCF funds.  The Committee is working to modernize and improve the LWCF so that recreational access for local communities remains the underlying purpose of the fund as originally intended under the law.

The Committee is working to update federal land management policy for the 21st century.  

Key Legislation

H.R. 2647 – The Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015

Introduced by Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and Ryan Zinke (R-MT), H.R. 2647 is a bipartisan bill that addresses the fundamental barriers to forest health and the growing economic and environmental threats of catastrophic wildfire. H.R. 2647 includes tools that can be utilized immediately by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to dramatically improve the health and resiliency of our federal forests and rangelands. It simplifies environmental process requirements, reduces project planning times, and reduces the cost of implementing forest management projects while still ensuring robust protection of the environment.

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H.R. 2406 The Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015
Introduced by Rep. Robert Wittman (R-VA), H.R. 2406 is comprised of thirteen provisions that will increase opportunities for hunters, anglers, and recreational shooters; eliminate regulatory impediments and safeguard against new regulations that will impede outdoor sporting activities; and protect Second Amendment rights. 

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Oversight Hearing on ESA Consultation Impediments to Economic and Infrastructure Development
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations | 1324 Longworth House Office Building Washington D.C. 20515
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