The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee is asking budget writers to set aside $50 million to account for the costs to transfer federal land to state or local governments.
Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) put the request on a wish list sent Friday to the House Budget Committee.
In his request, Bishop argued that “poorly managed federal lands create a burden for surrounding states and communities.”
He reasoned that divesting the federal government of its land would be good for the federal budget. It would reduce the costs of maintaining that land, he said, as well as the payments the federal government makes to local and state governments for tax dollars they can’t collect.
“To allow for these conveyances to start immediately, we ask that you build in $50 million into the budget to cover possible impacts on offsetting receipts,” Bishop wrote. “The vitality of these lands, after being conveyed from the federal government, will reduce the need for other taxpayer-funded federal support, either through Payments in Lieu of Taxes or other programs such as Secure Rural Schools.”
The budget request does not mention any specific land transfers Bishop or others might propose.
But conservation groups quickly slammed Bishop’s request to use taxpayer money to help get rid of federal land.