Earlier this year, Gov. Gary Herbert (R-UT) said it’s “worth exploring” selling off much of his own state to help pay down the national debt, agreeing with an earlier call from Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL).
Now, another Utah politician is introducing legislation to do just that. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has introduced legislation that would sell off nearly 1 percent of the Bureau of Land Management area in 10 states:
While other members of Congress will be pressing Tuesday to set aside some federal lands as wilderness, Rep. Jason Chaffetz will push legislation to dispose of “excess” swaths of the West to help pay down the federal debt. [...] “While there are national treasures worthy of federal protection, there are lands that should be returned to private ownership,” Chaffetz said in introducing his legislation earlier this year. “If the land serves no public purpose and is ‘identified for disposal,’ let’s return it to private ownership.” Chaffetz said the sale would equate to barely 1 percent of Bureau of Land Management area and less then a half a percent of all federal lands. In addition to Utah, the bill would affect public lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.
There will be a hearing on Chaffetz’s bill today at the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands.