After public outcry, the lawmaker who introduced a bill to sell 3.3 million acres of public land nationwide — including 70,000 acres in Oregon — has decided to reverse course.
Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz said late Wednesday night that he was withdrawing H.R. 621 because “groups I support and care about fear it sends the wrong message,” Chaffetz said in a post on Instagram.
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. #keepitpublic #tbt
The land identified for disposal — meaning sale to private entities or states — had included acreage from 10 different states. In Oregon, it included 70,300 acres in parcels from 19 counties managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The parcels ranged from 44,533 acres in Harney County to 1 acre in Marion County.
The land Chaffetz identified came from a 1997 survey conducted by the Clinton administration, which was seeking potential revenue to benefit the Everglades Restoration effort. The survey never resulted in the land being sold.