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house Bill H.R. 622

Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act

Bill Details

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Title

Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act

Official Title

To terminate the law enforcement functions of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and to provide block grants to States for the enforcement of Federal law on Federal land under the jurisdiction of these agencies, and for other purposes.

Summary

Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act This bill declares that, by September 30, 2017, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) shall terminate the Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations unit and cease using Forest Service employees to perform law enforcement functions on federal lands. Also by such date, the Department of the Interior shall terminate the Bureau of Land Management Office of Law Enforcement and cease using Interior employees to perform law enforcement functions on federal lands. Interior shall make a grant to each state to permit the state to maintain law and order on federal land, protect individuals and property on federal lands, and enforce federal law. Any state or local government receiving the grant or subgrant shall enter into an agreement with Interior or USDA, as appropriate, to address the maintenance of law and order and the protection of individuals and property on federal land. In any such agreement, Interior or USDA must waive all civil claims against the state or local government and indemnify that government and save it harmless from all claims by third parties for property damage or personal injury that may arise out of law enforcement functions performed under the agreement. A state or local law enforcement officer performing law enforcement functions pursuant to such an agreement shall not generally be deemed a federal employee with respect to hours of work, compensation rates, leave, unemployment compensation, and federal benefits, among other things.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Agriculture
      Conservation and Forestry
      National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands
      Committee on Natural Resources
    IntroducedJanuary 24th, 2017
    As a Federal land manager I can say that we need these law enforcement officers and not rely on the county sheriffs. Where I am, we manage over 3 million acres and the sheriff department has 6 people. They are busy enough without having to deal with more problems. Our law enforcement officers serve the public and can focus solely on issues on Federal land. How can a state official deal with Federal laws when the state laws contradict Federal Laws? On a side note, it would appear the Rep. Chaffetz has a personal vendetta against the Federal government with all the bills he is proposing against it. Kind of funny since he gets his check from them.
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    Enforcement of fair and sustainable federal regulations is ESSENTIAL to appropriately maintaining public lands for conservation, wilderness restoration, and public use/enjoyment. Stripping our federal land managers of power created to offer a balance to bottomless corporate profiteering is akin to stripping the land itself. These natural resources must be PROTECTED, not mined for every conceivable profit until there is no wilderness left in this country.
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    I oppose this bill. USFS/BLM are tasked with protection of our public lands. It is necessary to keep these agencies at full strength to deal with infractions/problems/threats on these lands. In some areas the local constabulary actually doesn't want to enforce any regulations on public lands and will turn a blind eye to misuse and abuse of these resources. Block grants will not ensure that the funds will go to this important function. In addition, federal workers are very often harassed and threatened while doing their work. "Constitutional" sheriffs in some regions may leave this workers unprotected in some circumstances. Keep the security function in these two agencies.
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    A terribly designed bill that completely fails the American people, our shared natural heritage, and unfairly burdens the states to enforce federal laws on federal lands, something they can ill afford to do.
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    This is unconstitutional and violates the sovereignty of the Federal government.
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    Unacceptable! We need these to protect OUR federal lands!
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    Federal lands need federal managers, and Federal law enforcement. This piece of utter nonsense would severely overburden State law enforcement officials who, in addition to not having a fraction of the experience that the Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management have, also carry hundreds of other responsibilities. Additionally, block granting the money for these provisions does absolutely nothing to guarantee that states actually spend Federal money on enforcing Federal law or managing the Federal lands they're responsible for.
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    Terminating the law enforcement ability of FS and BLM rangers not only places more strain on state resources - resources the states most rich in national forests and BLM lands don't have readily available - but also effectively guarantee that there will be no enforcement. FS and BLM already struggle with enforcement across the west; this bill makes it even more likely that even if our federal lands are not privatized, they will be ripe for misuse, misappropriation, and manipulation - and will less be able to serve the everyday Americans who most rely on National Forests and BLM lands. Without enforcement capability, regulations regarding sustainable timber harvesting will not be enforceable. Without enforcement capability, regulations regarding grazing leases will not be enforceable. This bill guarantees the degradation of public lands, and serves only corporate interests - not those of the people.
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    Federal lands belong to all Americans and deserve a consistent, dedicated level of law enforcement in order to safeguard wildlife and natural resources for future generations.
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    Do not terminate the law enforcement functions of either the BLM or the Forest Service. These are OUR public lands that we want to protect and enjoy with fear of crime or destruction of of important resources.
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    Please do not allow this to pass
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    This bill is yet another facet of the ongoing pillage and plunder public land grab. Current law enforcement personnel on public lands are subject to rigorous training and high professional standards. This system is not broken. In fact, public lands law enforcement needs to be augmented because of increased use and enjoyment of our public lands. Local law enforcement is not equipped to handle these responsibilities. Sometimes local law enforcement is not even willing. Eliminating federal law enforcement is just another step in the war on public lands, which seems to be an obsession with Rep. Chaffetz. Leave our public lands alone!
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    These are Federally protected lands for the people. They need the presence of Law Enforcement to insure that they are protected. I want these lands to be preserved for future generations.
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    These lands were put under federal protection to make sure that ALL Americans can enjoy them and access them for generations to come. Where else can we see what our great nation may have looked like when our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) established the United States of America? Shame on those who want to exploit these lands for private benefit and leave the despoiled result for the people.
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    These lands are our heritage and the natural crown jewel of our country. Although we have the ability to repair most of the damage done, we rarely can bring those areas back to their full glory after the fact.
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    Why would you turn this over to the States? It's Federal land.
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    U.S.F.S./ BLM law enforcement officers fill a gap in protection, safety, service that local municipal, and county law enforcement cannot fill. Simply transferring those federal funds (critically under-funded) will not fill the vacuum that will be created if you eliminate these LEO officers. They are trained in all aspects of law enforcement, assisting our municipal (McCall), and county (Valley) but more specifically, they specialize in backcountry issues. Oppose this bill.
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    Local law enforcement has too much on their plate as it is. This is bad for the protection and enforcement of laws on our public lands
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    Putting the huge task of law enforcement of large amounts of federal land on local communities within states does not sound like a good idea to me. This would decrease hundreds if not much more jobs from the forest service and BLM, and I thought we wanted to create more jobs, not take them away.
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    Federal lands belong to all Americans and all deserve a consistent level of law enforcement to safeguard wildlife and natural resources for future generations. States law enforcement will be inconsistent at best and most States are overwhelmed with their own state lands and do not have the capacity.
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