Press Releases

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Mike Lee (R-UT) today introduced legislation to reduce federal ownership of certain public lands and allow the land to be sold for more productive purposes.  The bill directs the Secretary of Interior to dispose of federal lands identified in a 1997 Clinton Administration report deemed suitable for sale.  Under this legislation, the amount of land sold would be equal to roughly one percent of all land managed by the Bureau of Land Management, and less than one half of one percent of all federal land.  Representative Jason Chaffetz (UT-3) recently introduced a similar bill in the House. 

“The federal budget, much like the household budgets of millions of American families, is stretched alarmingly thin in today’s fiscal climate,” said Senator John McCain.  “Congress must explore all possible avenues for reducing our $1.4 trillion deficit and ballooning $14 trillion national debt.  Our legislation aims to reduce the federal estate in a way that’s mindful of how we currently manage our public lands and seeks to dispose land that the federal government simply does not want.”

“It’s been more than a decade since the land was deemed suitable for disposal and there is no critical need for the federal government to hold on to it,” said Senator Mike Lee. “The sale of the land alone could generate more than a $1 billion, and there is further economic benefit of putting the land to good use.  That will mean jobs, future growth, and better prosperity for the surrounding areas.” 

“It’s good for the state of Utah and I am happy to work with Senator McCain and my fellow Utahn Representative Chaffetz in the House in supporting the move.”

The bill is titled The Reducing Federal Ownership of Public Lands Act.