Amidst tremendous pressure from the outdoor community, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz has pledged to withdraw a bill he proposed last Tuesday that sought to sell off more 3.3 million acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the United State Forest Service.
HR 621 quickly unified thousands within the outdoor community who viewed the proposal as a direct assault on their access to public lands across the West. The public outcry was swift online but also included raucous, well-attended rallies in state houses across the West.
Chaffetz announced his plans to kill the bill in an Instagram post this morning, but he left out any mention of another bill, HR 622, that he proposed in conjunction with the bill he now plans to kill.
I am withdrawing HR 621. I’m a proud gun owner, hunter and love our public lands. The bill would have disposed of small parcels of lands Pres. Clinton identified as serving no public purpose but groups I support and care about fear it sends the wrong message. The bill was originally introduced several years ago. I look forward to working with you. I hear you and HR 621 dies tomorrow. #keepitpublic #tbt
HR 622 aims to “terminate the law enforcement functions of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and to provide block grants to States for the enforcement of Federal law on Federal land under the jurisdiction of these agencies, and for other purposes.”
Public land advocates argue that removing law enforcement agencies from the already underfunded BLM and USFS would leave the lands severely unmanaged, opening them up to poaching and other forms of unauthorized use.
“Mr. Chaffetz took the first step. Now he needs to kill H.R. 622, the Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act, which would eliminate hundreds of critical law enforcement jobs with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management,” said Backcountry Hunters and Anglers CEO Land Tawney. “Our law enforcement officers are on the front lines of conservation and already do more with less. Let’s give them the resources they need to do their jobs.”