Congressman Steve Stivers (R -- Columbus) today re-introduced the Land Acquisition to Cut National Debt Act, or LAND Act. The legislation 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 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."
Last Congress, The LAND Act received a hearing in the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forestry and Public Lands.