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Panel Reviews Slate of Lands Bills to Benefit Local Communities Burdened by Federal Roadblocks

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 14, 2017 -

Today, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on three targeted bills that facilitate locally supported transfers or exchanges of certain federals lands to improve public land access and benefit local communities, and a bill to authorize the establishment of the National Global War on Terrorism Memorial.

One of the overreaching objectives of this Committee is to restore the federal government as a good neighbor to those communities that are impacted by public lands,” Subcommittee Chairman Tom McClintock (R-CA) said.

H.R. 1547 rectifies a longstanding, unfulfilled agreement from 1989 between the City of Tucson, Arizona (City) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The deal gave the City clear title of Udall Park by removing BLM’s reversionary interest in exchange for $4 million worth of land. Due to administrative inefficiencies, unbeknownst to City officials, the provision was never formally removed which caused outrage in 2010 when the BLM threatened to invoke its reversionary interest and take back the land if the City did not remove a farmer’s market in the park.

“In most cases, we do not support outright conveyance of federal land, but this may be a case when the circumstances warrant an exception to that rule,” Ranking Member Hanabusa (D-HI) stated.  

H.R. 2582 authorizes the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) to acquire 500 acres of land already identified as available for disposal by the BLM. Under the 1894 Utah Enabling Act, Utah has the right to select federal lands for the support and benefit of state institutions.

“This solution would satisfy both the state and federal government and help us to keep the promises made to the State of Utah more than 120 years ago,” Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) said. “More importantly, it would ultimately raise funds to benefit Utah students.”

 “H.R. 2582 will resolve a lingering impasse between the federal government and the State of Utah over statehood era land grants, in a way that promotes rational land management while providing financial support for Utah’s public universities and school,” Associate Director for SITLA John Andrews stated.

H.R. 3115 facilitates the NorthMet Land Exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and Poly Met Mining, Inc. The land exchange, previously approved by the Obama Administration, swaps federal land for private inholdings within the Superior National Forest and resolves a long running complication regarding the land’s split mineral and surface rights.

“The project as a whole has been reviewed for over twelve years by a myriad of state and federal agencies to determine [if] the project could move forward while simultaneously protecting our precious water, air and environment,” Rep. Rick Nolan (D-MN) stated. “[E]xchanging this inaccessible land for property via legislation that is available to the public will expand recreational opportunities in the Superior National Forest.”

H.R. 873 authorizes the establishment of the National Global War on Terrorism Memorial as a commemorative work to honor members of the Armed Forces who served on active duty during the war.

“[H.R. 873] helps this generation of warriors and their families heal, honor and remember,” Executive Director for the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation Andrew Brennan said.

Click here to view full witness testimony.  

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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