Bill to speed federal-state land swaps helps conservation and education

Jul 29, 2014
The Wilderness Society testified this morning before the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation this morning.

The first is the “Advancing Conservation and Education Act of 2014,” from Rep. Rob Bishop (Utah) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (Oregon), which would expedite transfers of land between states and federal agencies.

“It’s a win-win situation: protected areas like parks and wilderness will be made whole, and states acquire lands better suited to economic development,” said Paul Spitler, The Wilderness Society’s director of wilderness campaigns, who testified before the subcommittee. “Facilitating such exchanges will help protect the values of the federal conservation areas, while providing states with new sources of revenue from its lands.”

Many parks and other protected lands have state-controlled lands within their borders. These areas are often landlocked, and difficult to develop for state governments, depriving them of revenue that supports education. Likewise, these parcels create gaps in management of protected areas.

“This bill will benefit the public, advance conservation, boost state economies, and increase school funding. We urge the Congress to advance it,” said Spitler. 

Paul Spitler