Across the country

Congress is the only body with the legal authority to dispose of public lands. In recent weeks, it has introduced or pass significant legislation aimed at transferring or selling off public lands:

  • House Resolution 621: "To direct the Secretary of the Interior to sell certain Federal lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming, previously identified as suitable for disposal, and for other purposes." Withdrawn after public outcry.
  • House Resolution 622: "To terminate the law enforcement functions of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management." Introduced January 2017.
  • House Joint Resolution 44: "Disapproving the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior relating to Bureau of Land Management regulations that establish the procedures used to prepare, revise, or amend land use plans pursuant to the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976." Introduced January 2017.
  • House Joint Resolution 46: "Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the final rule of the National Park Service relating to "General Provisions and Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights." Introduced January 2017.
  • Senate Amendment 838: This budgetary amendment backs up state efforts to take over and sell off national public land. More here. Passed in Senate March 2015.
  • House Resolution 3650: allows any state to claim ownership of up to 2 million acres of a National Forest on the condition that the state then prioritize logging over other uses of the land. More here. Passed out of House Committee June 2016.
  • House Resolution 2316: allows states to take possession of 900,000 acres or more of National Forests and hand control over to a small groups representing special interests, appointed by the state’s governor. More here. Passed out of House Committee June 2016.
  • House Resolution 4579: Undercuts potential Wilderness designations and careful land management by handing over travel management decisions of public lands in Utah, owned by all Americans, to a small group of counties. More here. Passed out of House Committee June 2016.
  • House Resolution 1484: would turn over vast amounts of public land to the state of Nevada.
  • House Resolution 866: would turn over authority over energy development on national public lands to states.

In the west

Western states governments have also introduced dozens of bills demanding that the government "hand over" public land to state governments. Below, learn about the state-level bills in the west. Use the "In My State" menu above or click on the maps below to learn more about what areas are at risk in your state, and to see a list of the legislation introduced in each state that aims to take over public lands. Then sign the petition to protect your favorite outdoor places.