ST. GEORGE – Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has withdrawn support of a bill that would have mandated the sale of 3.3 million acres of public land across the West.
The Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act of 2017 would have allowed the sale of public land in 10 Western states, but the move triggered rallies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Helena, Montana, this week, the Washington Post reported.
Hunters and anglers’ groups spoke out about the measure, including the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.
“Representative Chaffetz should never have introduced this ill-conceived bill, but the instant and overwhelming response by sportsmen and women forced him to listen and ultimately abandon H.R. 621, which would have seized millions of acres of public lands,” Backcountry Hunters and Anglers President Land Tawney said in a statement.
“His fellow lawmakers should take note of the ire and rapid response by hunters and anglers. We aren’t going away.”
Chaffetz posted a photo of himself wearing camouflage and holding a dog on his Instagram account late Wednesday along with this statement:
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
Chaffetz has introduced the bill five times. It was considered unlikely to pass until the new Trump administration took office, the Denver post reported.
The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources Jan. 24.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is based in Missoula, Montana. The group calls itself “the sportsmen’s voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife” and has chapters in 29 states and British Columbia.
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