Griffith Introduces the Acre In, Acre Out Act

Thursday, April 10, 2014 | Andie Pivarunas (202-225-3861)

Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) on Tuesday introduced H.R. 4423, the Acre In, Acre Out Act.  This bill would require the Federal Government to sell an acre of land it already owns for every new acre of land that it acquires.  Proceeds from the land sales would go towards paying down our national debt.

“The Federal Government owns roughly 650 million acres of land in the United States, nearly 30 percent of the country’s land mass,” Griffith said.  “81 percent of Nevada, 62 percent of Idaho, 53 percent of Oregon, and 48 percent of California are all owned by the Federal Government.  Put another way, Uncle Sam’s total land holdings are equal to roughly four times the size of Texas. 

“The Federal Government owns approximately 53 percent of Craig County and 49 percent of Alleghany County according to sources in those counties.  Additional research indicates that the Federal Government also owns significant portions of other counties in the Ninth District.”

Griffith continued, “While I support the preservation of public lands, the country was not founded in order to have a majority of its land owned by the central government.  The Acre In, Acre Out Act would continue to preserve American lands for private ownership, enterprise, development, and exploration, stopping the Federal Government from grabbing more and more land while also helping to pay down our national debt.” 

BACKGROUND:

Approximately 95 percent of ownership of Federal lands is done through four entities:  National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service.  Under the Acre In, Acre Out Act, each of these agencies could acquire new land.  However, they would be required to sell a corresponding amount of existing land elsewhere for fair market value.  If the land remains unsold after six months, the price would drop by 10 percent each month thereafter until it sells.

Text of the Acre In, Acre Out Act is attached.

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