Last week, the new House majority abandoned a rule of the last Congress that made it easier to transfer or sell off public lands.
The old rule, enacted by Republican leadership in 2017 at the start of the 115th Congress, established that that “certain conveyances of federal lands” would “not be considered as providing new budget authority,” basically meaning that the House could transfer or sell off of public lands and treat them as valueless for the purposes of budgetary accounting. In reality, public lands are a large source of government revenue, second only to taxes. And we know that our National Parks, Forests, and Wildlife Refuges are invaluable for the climbing, hiking, camping, paddling, mountain biking, and skiing opportunities they provide.
Despite generating billions for the U.S. economy, public lands had no official value for the majority in the last Congress. This was a bald-faced attempt to make it easier to transfer or sell off our public lands.
When the House passed this measure two years ago, Outdoor Alliance and other conservation groups spoke out about it, and thousands of you reached out to your elected officials to share your concerns.
That’s why it’s a success that last week, the new House majority overturned that measure, announcing that it was “ending the policy that allows Federal lands to be given away for free without acknowledging the budgetary impact” (source).
We’re gratified to see this development, and look forward to working closely with the new Congress, and helping you do the same, to share our values about public lands.