Washington, DC – Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Bruce Westerman’s (R-AR) Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act. This bipartisan bill would create a single database for lands owned by the federal government.
“We need to provide a more streamlined approach to cataloging the public lands, buildings, and assets owned by the federal government,” said Rep. Ron Kind. “This commonsense legislation will help us manage our public lands more effectively, all while increasing transparency and cutting wasteful spending.”
“The FLAIR Act is essential good governance that will save taxpayer dollars. A myriad of duplicative and disconnected inventories of our federal lands and property have consistently hampered responsible land management and led to exorbitant waste year after year. For instance, the federal government spends an estimated $2 billion annually managing and maintaining vacant or unnecessary property. The single searchable database created by the FLAIR Act will remedy this ongoing problem, cut wasteful spending, consolidate duplicative systems, and provide the public with a full accounting of the federal estate, which will lead to improved management of all our lands. I’m proud to be leading this legislation with Congressman Kind and advocating for fiscal responsibility here in Congress,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman.
The federal government is the largest landowner in the United States, but currently there is no one comprehensive database to show exactly what lands and infrastructure the federal government owns. A streamlined, searchable database would give land managers access to more precise information and help save taxpayer dollars.
National and local groups involved with and affected by federal mapping efforts have issued statements in support of the FLAIR Act and its October 2021 introduction.
“Land Surveyors recognize the value of land owners having a complete and full understanding of all that they own. It’s simply good stewardship. The Federal Government is no different. Good stewardship begins with a solid inventory. The land surveying profession in Wisconsin would benefit greatly from a current and accurate inventory of Federal lands. Passage of this commonsense legislation is long overdue, and WSLS enthusiastically supports the provisions of this bill. We are grateful to Representative Kind for taking steps to address this much needed reform,” said Bryan Meyer, President of the Wisconsin Society of Land Surveyors.
“U.S. GEO commends Representatives 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 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 systems in the Department of the Interior and advance the concept of ‘map it once, use it many times.’”
“The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) commends the leadership provided by Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) for his introduction of the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act of 2021,” said NSPS Director from Wisconsin Richard Kleinmann. “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.”
Read the bipartisan bill here.