Grijalva Pushes Back on GOP Proposal to Make it Even Easier to Give Away America’s Public Lands

Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.) sent a notice to Democratic leadership today highlighting a significant change the Republican Conference has proposed to House rules. The new provision would help House Republicans pursue their long-stated goal of giving away National Parks, Forests, Public Lands, Wildlife Refuges and other federal areas – currently owned and used by the American people – by requiring the House to pretend such giveaways have no cost.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) already significantly undervalues federal land conveyances. If enacted, the proposed rule change would ignore even this meager accounting, allowing the 115th Congress to claim giving away public land has no cost to the American people, even if CBO determines otherwise.

“The House Republican plan to give away America’s public lands for free is outrageous and absurd,” Grijalva said. “This proposed rule change would make it easier to implement this plan by allowing the Congress to give away every single piece of property we own, for free, and pretend we have lost nothing of any value. Not only is this fiscally irresponsible, but it is also a flagrant attack on places and resources valued and beloved by the American people.”

State and local governments are unlikely to have the budget or staffing resources to actually own and manage large units of federal land. If House Republicans succeed in giving public land to states or localities, they would likely be forced to sell the land to the highest bidder.

“The proposal is one more example of the Trump Republican’s plans to use federal resources to enrich wealthy developers by making it easier for them to get their hands on invaluable federal lands currently owned by, and open to, all Americans.”

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