Westerman, Kind Introduce Bipartisan Bill Creating Federal Lands Database
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Reps. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) introduced the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill to create a single database for lands owned by the federal government.
“As families across the country know, you can’t come up with a household budget without first understanding how much you spend each month. Likewise, the federal government can’t address its infrastructure needs or maintenance backlogs without first knowing what property it controls,” Westerman said. “While this seems like a simple census, no streamlined method currently exists to catalog land, buildings and other government-owned property. The FLAIR Act would remedy this issue by providing a searchable, sustainable tool by which all real property assets are categorized and updated. I’m always in favor of commonsense solutions to systemic problems, and I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will rally behind this important legislation.”
“This commonsense bill helps increase transparency, manage our public lands more efficiently, and cuts wasteful government spending,” Kind said. “I’m proud to bring the bipartisan FLAIR Act to the House floor, and look forward to the bill providing a streamlined approach to cataloging the public lands, buildings and assets owned by the federal government.”
U.S. Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced a companion bill in the Senate.
“We cannot expect our government to properly manage federal lands if it cannot even account for the land it has,” Cramer said. “The FLAIR Act eliminates duplication and conflicts between federal departments and increases transparency by creating a searchable system available to the public. This is a commonsense move that would improve management of federal lands and reduce the ambiguity that often hamstrings the federal bureaucracy."
Industry leaders and stakeholders issued statements in support of the FLAIR Act.
"The surveying profession would greatly benefit from a current, accurate inventory of Federal lands. Particularly in the Western states, public land survey system surveys would be more efficient,” said North Dakota Society of Professional Land Surveyors (NDSPLS) President Jason Main. “NDSPLS is very thankful for Senator Cramer's vision in addressing this important government reform effort as authorized in the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act."
"U.S. GEO commends Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), as well as Congressmen Ron Kind (D-WI) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR), for their bipartisan introduction of the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act,” said U.S. GEO Founder John Palatiello. “This legislation will help the Department of the Interior and other departments and agencies become better stewards of Federal and public lands and better land managers, while saving tax dollars by providing a current, accurate land inventory to replace the more than 100 duplicative, stove-piped, non-interoperable legacy property management system in the Department of the Interior and advance the concept of 'map it once, use it many times.’”
"The FLAIR Act is a much needed bipartisan solution which, if enacted, would greatly improve the accountability and management of the federal government’s land management practices and the related agencies by directing the Secretary of Interior to create a modern digital inventory of federal land and real property,” said Brian Raber, president of MAPPS, a national association of geospatial firms. “I commend Senator Cramer and Senator Heinrich’s leadership and dedication to modernize this aspect of the federal government and look forward to seeing this bill signed into law during the 116th Congress."
"The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) commends the leadership provided by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR) for their bipartisan introduction of the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act of 2019,” said NSPS Executive Director Curtis Sumner. “NSPS stands ready to help with the objectives of this important reform legislation, and strongly encourages Congress and the President to enact the FLAIR Act into law."