Bill to seize public lands abandoned
Rep. Jason Chaffetz announced Wednesday night his decision to withdraw House of Representatives Bill 621 (H.R.621), which would have mandated the sale of more than 3 million acres of public lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
Chaffetz (R-Utah), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, took to social media with his decision late Wednesday night, saying on Facebook and also via Instagram that “I am withdrawing HR 621. I’m a proud gun owner, hunter and love our public lands. The bill would have disposed of small parcels of lands Pres. Clinton identified as serving no public purpose but groups I support and care about fear it sends the wrong message. The bill was originally introduced several years ago. I look forward to working with you. I hear you and HR 621 dies tomorrow.”
According to reports, a public lands rally protesting the bill in Sante Fe, N.M., on Wednesday drew hundreds of protesters, and a similar gathering in Helena, Mont., on Monday attracted well over 1,000. Numerous sportsmen’s groups also had spoken out, particularly in the days since the bill — introduced as the Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act of 2017 — had been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources on Jan. 24.