14 unnumbered pages : digital, pdf file.
CRS report for Congress ; RL34273.
The federal government owns about 653 million acres, heavily concentrated in 12 western states. Four agencies -- the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management, all in the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Forest Service in the Department of Agriculture -- administer about 95% of those lands. This report describes the primary federal land acquisition and disposal authorities of these agencies, as background for congressional consideration of measures to acquire or dispose of particular land and to establish new authorities or amend or terminate existing ones. Congress faces questions on the adequacy of existing authorities, the extent and location of their use, the amount of land in federal ownership overall, and the sources and adequacy of funds for land acquisition, among other issues. The nature of the acquisition and disposal authorities of the federal land management agencies varies. In general, the acquisition authorities are designed to allow the four agencies to bring into federal ownership lands that many believe would benefit from federal management. Disposal authorities generally are designed to allow agencies to convey land that is no longer needed for a federal purpose or that might be chiefly valuable for another purpose. Many of the authorities specify particular circumstances where they can be used, such as the conveyance of Forest Service land for educational purposes. The extent to which the agencies have authority to acquire and dispose of land differs considerably. The Bureau of Land Management has broad authority for both acquisitions and disposals under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. The agency has other authorities for disposing of land, including two laws that allow the agency to retain the proceeds for subsequent land acquisition, among other purposes. By contrast, the National Park Service has no general authority to acquire or dispose of land. The authorities for the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service are somewhere in between. The Forest Service has authority to acquire lands only within the boundaries of a national forest. The agency has various authorities to dispose of land, but they are relatively constrained (very specific authorities, such as for townsites) and infrequently used. The Fish and Wildlife Service has various authorities to acquire lands, but no general authority to dispose of its lands. The agency frequently uses acquisition authority under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1929, because of the availability of funding through the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. Congress also enacts legislation to acquire or dispose of lands and in some cases the President has such authority with regard to the four agencies covered here.
Caption title. "December 6, 2007." Title from title screen (viewed Dec. 12, 2007).
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