Bennet, Gardner Introduce Bipartisan Public Lands Bill

Legislation Would Reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act

Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner today joined Senators Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Dean Heller (R-NV) to introduce a bill to reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA). Before it expired in 2011, FLTFA allowed 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.

"Colorado's heritage is rooted in the intrinsic value of our public lands," Bennet said. "The conservation of these lands is crucial to our tourism and outdoor recreation industries and to ensuring that future generations of Coloradans will be able to enjoy them as we do. This bill gives federal land management agencies additional tools to preserve important parts of our state and help boost economic development without cost to taxpayers."

"Conserving and protecting the public lands Coloradans cherish is a bipartisan priority," Gardner said. "Before its expiration, FLTFA was used to conserve land in the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, the White River National Forest, and elsewhere in Colorado. FLTFA is a responsible program which benefits both conservation efforts and the private sector, leading to economic development while protecting critical public lands."

From 2000 to 2011, FLTFA allowed the preservation of important sites across the western United States without the use of taxpayer money.The program also assisted in better land management practices by disposing of isolated or difficult to manage parcels identified by the public land management agencies themselves.

In Colorado, FLTFA resources have been used to complement projects funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO).The "land for land" concept has helped federal agencies acquire approximately 4,500 acres of land within the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument to preserve numerous artifacts and to preserve parcels of land within the White River National Forest's Holy Cross Wilderness.

Additional cosponsors of the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act are U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

A copy of the bill is available here.

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