Congressman Steve Stivers (R -- Columbus) today introduced the Land Acquisition to Cut National Debt Act, or LAND Act. The legislation was introduced as part of the YouCut program and suspends net federal land acquisitions by the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture until the federal budget is balanced for the year in which the land would be purchased.
"The federal government currently owns roughly one-third of all land in the United States, including more than 80 percent of Nevada and Alaska, and more than half of Idaho, Oregon, and Utah," Stivers said. "By simply suspending the purchase of new federal lands, we can save up to $3 billion in taxpayer money over 10 years."
A 1999 report by the Congressional Budget Office highlighted that federal agencies such as the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management might protect the environment better "by improving management in currently held areas rather than providing minimal management over a larger domain."
In 2003, the Government Accountability Office reported that the National Park Service's maintenance backlog was more than $5 billion. Since then, federal land acquisitions have accelerated, placing even greater burdens on an obviously inefficient and overstrained system.
"The Obama Administration has proposed $450 million in Fiscal Year 2013 for federal land purchases, a $160 million spending increase, or 58 percent, compared to funding levels when he first took office," Stivers said. "This is unacceptable, we need to be working to find ways to reduce government spending and the national debt."
YouCut is a House Republican program that allows Members to give the choice of three cost- saving measures online and lets the public chose the one to be introduced as legislation.