U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) led a group of western Senators, including Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Dean Heller (R-NV), in introducing a bill to reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA). FLTFA allows 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.
"FLTFA is an excellent model of public land management that achieves conservation and responsible access goals while spurring economic development," said Heinrich. "In New Mexico, we've seen how well FLTFA works. These funds have been used to protect land at Aztec Ruins National Monument, the Elk Springs, and La Cienega BLM Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. Because of FLTFA, these areas will be protected for future generation of New Mexicans."
"This is a very successful program that allows federal land management agencies to make National Forests, National Parks and other wild areas more complete without additional taxpayer funds," said Udall. "With resources generated by the sale of federal lands, agencies can purchase new areas from willing sellers to increase conservation and boost the local economies through tourism."
"I'm pleased to partner with Senators Heinrich and Udall in support of a program that provides a fiscally responsible way to protect sensitive lands and make additional lands available for our communities to grow. This is an important tool for Nevada and the West and I am pleased to be part of this bipartisan effort," said Heller.
Since 2000, FLTFA has allowed the preservation of important sites across the western United States without the use of taxpayer money. The program has also assisted in better land management practices by disposing of isolated or difficult to manage parcels identified by the public land management agencies themselves.
"FLTFA is commonsense legislation that helps out people who like to hunt, fish and camp on public land," said Ray Trejo, president of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. "The original FLTFA was sponsored by our former senators, Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman. New Mexico sportsmen are glad to see our newest senator, Martin Heinrich, working to reauthorize this important law."
Additional cosponsors of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act are Senators Mark Udall (D-CO), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Max Baucus (D-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).