Federal Lands May Now Be Easier To Give Away. Here's Why That Matters

Congress has drafted new rules that could make it easier for the federal government to effectively give away public lands.
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Federal Lands May Now Be Easier To Give Away. Here's Why That Matters

Members of Congress are trying to make it easier for the federal government to effectively give away hundreds of millions of acres of public land.

In a small subsection of rules proposed for the 115th Congress, lawmakers have changed the value of that federally owned land.

The new rule means the transfer or sale of federal land to state or local governments is no longer considered "economically significant." Basically, Congress will no longer have to offset the funds lost in the budget when the land is sold, making it easier to give away.

According to The Guardian, the new rule applies to land operated by the Bureau of Land Management, National Forests and any Federal Wildlife Refuge.

Right now, those areas contribute an estimated $646 billion dollars in economic stimulus each year and hold 6.1 million jobs.

Critics fear the new rules could be used to sell large portions of the lands for private energy and property development.

And while Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of the interior has said he's "absolutely against" transferring or selling public lands, he does support using them for drilling and mining.