NDA Urges Swift Implementation of Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act

January 27, 2020 | by National Deer Alliance

The National Deer Alliance (NDA) recently joined dozens of conservation organizations in penning a letter to David Bernhardt, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, urging expeditious implementation of the now-permanently reauthorized Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA). FLTFA is a common-sense public lands tool that facilitates modified land exchanges to protect our nation’s special places and increase public access and recreation.

Originally authorized in 2000, FLTFA expired in 2011 but was permanently reauthorized in 2018. FLTFA facilitates strategic federal land sales by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to provide funding for high-priority land conservation within or adjacent to federal lands throughout the West. Under FLTFA, the revenue generated from BLM land sales must be used to pursue land conservation projects that increase public access for outdoor recreation, hunting, and fishing, conserve wildlife habitat, protect water quality, and preserve historic and cultural resources.

While FLTFA is now permanently reauthorized, it is not yet operational. For that to happen, the BLM must fully implement the law, beginning with finalizing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between these agencies. The updates to the MOU must recognize the new provisions in the law that make certain recreation and other lands eligible under FLTFA, among other changes. In the letter, NDA respectfully requested that Secretary Bernhardt work with the agencies to make the program more efficient, including delegating signature authority for land acquisition decisions to below the Secretary’s office, to at least agency heads or division chiefs.

While NDA applauds the bipartisan support and permanent reauthorization FLTFA, Secretary Bernhardt and the Department of the Interior must now take the appropriate steps to fully implement FLTFA’s provisions. NDA will continue to support efficient and expedited implementation of this tool to improve public and private lands management, public access and recreation opportunities and conservation across the West.