WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Dean Heller (R-NV) led a group of senators to introduce a bill to reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA). Before it expired in 2011, FLTFA allowed the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service in the western United States to use the proceeds from sales of certain federally designated areas to protect lands of exceptional conservation value.
“This program takes a balanced approach to conservation of public lands in the West, and as a result, it has a long history of bipartisan support,” said Sen. Heinrich. “FLTFA is a commonsense program that achieves the dual goals of conservation and economic development. These funds have been used to protect iconic lands in New Mexico including in the Aztec Ruins National Monument, Santa Fe National Forest, and Elk Springs. FLTFA helps our state preserve the places that draw visitors from around the world and sustain outdoor traditions like hunting and fishing for generations to come.”
“I’m pleased to join with Senator Heinrich to support this bipartisan program providing a fiscally responsible way to protect and manage important public lands in Nevada and the West. Not only will it spur economic growth and development, it will keep conservation at the forefront of the region’s needs,” said Sen. Heller.
“We applaud Senator Heinrich for continuing to champion this needed solution for our western lands,” said Mike Ford, Southwest Director, The Conservation Fund. “FLTFA is good for New Mexico and the West because it funds critical conservation efforts, supports economic development, consolidates land ownership and creates jobs.”
From 2000 to 2011, FLTFA allowed the preservation of important sites across the western United States without the use of taxpayer money. The program also assisted in better land management practices by disposing of isolated or difficult to manage parcels identified by the public land management agencies themselves.
Additional cosponsors of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act are U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).
A copy of the bill is available here.