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Committee approves creation of registry of federal land

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The federal government would have to develop a complete and updated list of its real estate, under legislation approved by a congressional committee. The House Committee on Natural Resources approved the Federal Land Asset Inventory Relief Act of 2013 (H.R. 916), or FLAIR Act on Wednesday, July 16, 2014. The committee approved the bill as an amendment in the nature of a substitute from the original bill. The committee acted on the bill directly without consideration by two subcommittees it was referred to, the subcommittees on Public Lands & Environmental Regulation and Energy & Mineral Resources.

The bill was originally introduced last year by Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.). The amendment, which the committee approve unanimously, was offered by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.). It would require a “cadastre,” or registry of all federal land.

State lands would also be included in the register and states would have to pay at least half the cost of including them. Within six months, the U.S Department of the Interior (DoI) would have to report back to Congress on the current state of any existing such cadastres, and how they will be absorbed into or replaced by the new one. If any others would continue to exist, DoI would have to explain why in the report.

DoI would also have to examine the extent to which states keep such registries that include federal lands and how they may be included in the new registry. The report would also have to document any cost savings by compiling everything into one registry by eliminating unneeded or redundant ones. DoI would have to work with other federal agencies; including the Office of Management & Budget, Government Accountability Office and General Services Administration; to list all such cadastres. DoI could also include recommendations on any changes in law that might be needed to save money by compiling a registry of federal land and eliminating multiple lists.

No similar bill is pending in the Senate but similar bills have failed before.

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