WASHINGTON – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers commended action in the House Committee on Natural Resources today to unanimously advance legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives that would permanently reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, or FLTFA, and urged Congress to move this bill to the president’s desk.
Introduced by Chairman Rob Bishop of Utah and cosponsored by Reps. Scott Tipton of Colorado and Greg Gianforte of Montana, all Republicans, H.R. 5133, the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Reauthorization of 2018, permanently reauthorizes a modified land exchange program that is a critical tool for Western public lands conservation. FLTFA enables the Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service to acquire and consolidate isolated inholdings located on public lands, promoting responsive conservation management and expanding public access to places to hunt and fish, by investing the proceeds of strategic sales of Bureau of Land Management lands into other federal lands in Alaska and the 11 contiguous Western states. While it is a self-funded and self-sustaining program, it’s been expired since 2011 and unavailable to land managers.
“Improving the management of our federal public lands by supporting programs like FLTFA helps fish and wildlife as well as sportsmen and women,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “FLTFA is a proven solution to the growing problem of insufficient public access opportunities in the United States, all while advancing more efficient public lands management while connecting important areas of habitat for fish and game.
“Federal programs that focus on both public access and conservation – like FLTFA as well as the highly successful Land and Water Conservation Fund, which often is leveraged for FLTFA transactions – deserve the support of citizens as well as the administration and members of Congress,” Tawney continued. “We thank Chairman Bishop and the co-sponsors of H.R. 5133 for their commitment to reauthorizing FLTFA, and we ask them to complement this legislation by pledging their support to permanently reauthorize LWCF, which will expire in September without action from Congress.”
FLTFA, which was established in 2001 but allowed to expire in 2011, has attracted broad bipartisan support and has been critical for expanding public access around the West, including fishing access in places like the North Platte River Special Recreation Management Area in Wyoming, and enhancing hunting opportunities and big game habitat at Elk Springs in New Mexico.
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