Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) introduced the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act [H.R. 916]. The bill requires the Department of Interior (DOI) to conduct an inventory of its federal real property holdings and integrate this data into the Federal Real Property Profile where the inventories will be tracked and managed.
A study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that managing federal real property is an area of the federal government that is most susceptible to waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer money. Present inventories of more than 100 different property systems are inaccurate, out of date, and obsolete. The National Academies of Science have recognized the lack of accurate data as a problem existing for more than 30 years. A new inventory and updated management database would identify and eliminate redundancy and duplication that costs millions of taxpayer dollars each year.
"In an era where technological advancements are made on an almost daily basis, it makes no sense that we don't have an accurate and up-to-date database of our federal lands and infrastructure. Outdated inventories and inaccurate data waste time and taxpayer dollars. If I can view the streets of a tiny town in Germany on Google maps as though I were standing there in person, I should, at the very least, be able to find a comprehensive, accurate, online listing of our country's public land assets. I think the American people would be surprised by the fact that this doesn't already exist," said Congressman Bishop.
"The FLAIR Act is an effective government reform bill that will utilize Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to help capture information about federal property. The bill also improves data management to help eliminate fraud, waste and redundancies, something I've been focused on since my days doing research for Senator William Proxmire's "Golden Fleece' awards pointing out wasteful government spending," said Congressman Kind.
The federal government is the largest landowner in the United States, managing an estimated total of 660 million acres or one-third of the total land area. Unfortunately, federal land managers often do not have precise and updated data detailing exactly what lands and infrastructure the federal government owns, because there is not one current and accurate database available.