What is the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA)
FLTFA is a self-sustaining “land for land” program that generates its funds through sales of scattered Bureau of Land Management (BLM) tracts authorized for disposal under the Federal Land Policy Management Act. Congress passed bipartisan legislation authorizing the program for 10 years in 2000. The program was extended for one year in 2010 however, despite the hard work of advocates, it was not extended when it expired in July of 2011.
The Departments of Interior and Agriculture allocate FLTFA funds to acquire priority lands from willing sellers within the boundaries of designated BLM areas, national forests, national parks and national wildlife refuges.
BLM completed hundreds of federal land sales under the program that in turn generated over $115 million and funded 39 projects– including the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail in Montana, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado, Hells Canyon Wilderness in Arizona, Zion National Park in Utah and South Fork Snake River ACEC in Idaho among other sites.
FLTFA is a program that does not cost the taxpayer any funds…rather it is financed through BLM land sales. BLM land sales continue even in the absence of FLTFA however the revenue from such sales goes to the U.S. Treasury rather than being utilized directly for conservation.
BLM’s resources to conduct sales and other real estate procedures have been greatly diminished without the administrative funding that FLTFA generated.
The Road to Re-authorization has been Winding and Rocky
October 2009 – Senator Jeff Bingaman [D-NM] introduces the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Re-authorization of 2009, S.1787 during the 111th Congress. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources reported favorably on the bill in June 2010 with a few amendments-the biggest amendment impact was the change from a permanent re-authorization to a 10 year sunset. The bill was not brought up for vote before the full Senate.
November 2009 – Representative Martin Heinrich[D-NM] ] introduces the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Re-authorization of 2009, H.R. 3339. Bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and a hearing was held in the Subcommittee on National Parks,Forests and Public Lands in July 2009. No other action was taken on the bill.
July 2010 – Congress passes a one year extension of the original act with an expiration date of July 25, 2011. FLTFA has not been renewed since that date.
August 2010 – Senator Harry Reid (NV) and Senator John Ensign (NV) introduce bipartisan legislation (S. 3762). to reinstate approximately $50 million to the Federal Land Disposal Account to carry out the FLTFA program The bill was reported out of committee favorably however no further action was taken on it.
September 2010 – Representative Martin Heinrich [D-NM] ] introduces a bill in the 111th Congress, H.R. 6206 that would reinstate funds to the Federal Land Disposal Account. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources where it died.
April 2011– Senator Jeff Bingaman [D-NM] introduces the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Re-authorization of 2011, S. 714, which would reauthorize FLTFA for ten years during the current Congress. The bill was reported favorably out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in September of 2011. Despite its favorable report, the bill was not brought up for a vote in the 112th Congress.
November 2011– Representative Cynthia Lummis [R-WY] introduces the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act Re-authorization of 2011, H.R. 3365, which would reauthorize FLTFA for seven years, during the current Congress. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources and a May, 2012 hearing was held in the House Subcommittee on Parks, Forests and Lands. There was no further action on the bill.
American Hiking Society Position
American Hiking Society supports the passage of legislation to extend the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA) in order to generate new funding for federal land conservation. If Congress passes legislation to reauthorize FLTFA, federal agencies and willing sellers will have access to much needed additional funds (at no cost to the taxpayer) to protect fish and wildlife habitat, increase public recreational access (such as hiking trails) and preserve historic sites.
For More Information About FLTFA:
Visit The Conservation Fund’s FLTFA website
Read about how BLM employs FLTFA
Check out this FLTFA Fact Sheet.
Read the WGA Resolution FLTFA-July 2013
Keep up to date on hiking related advocacy issues by subscribing to AHS Advocacy E-Alerts