What is the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA)?

Enacted in 2000 (P.L. 106-248), but expired in 2011, FLTFA was a western federal lands program that facilitated strategic federal land sales by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in order to provide funding for high-priority land conservation within or adjacent to federal lands in the eleven contiguous western states and Alaska, as well as fund costs associated with BLM land sales. With FLTFA, BLM often sold land to ranchers, communities, businesses and others, consolidating public-private land ownership. The land sales revenue provided funding for BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conservation projects (39 projects total) that also consolidated public-private land ownership, and also increased public access for outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing; conserved wildlife habitat; protected water quality; preserved historic and cultural resources; and other benefits.

The FLTFA program worked under the authority of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), including its lands sales policy, but made the change that land sales revenue returned to land conservation and BLM’s land sales program. Under FLPMA’s original policy, land sales revenue returns to the Treasury, which is now the current status, since FLTFA is expired. BLM has sold few lands without the FLTFA program in place, due to a decrease in land sales capacity and lack of incentive.

How does FLTFA work?

When BLM sells land that has been identified for disposal in a BLM Resource Management Plan, or receives equalization payments from exchanges, the revenue is first divided between the state where the land is sold (4 percent) and BLM’s Federal Land Disposal Account (96 percent), a separate account in the Treasury.  Within the Federal Land Disposal Account, a minimum of 80 percent is for land acquisition and a maximum of 20 percent is retained by BLM for administrative costs associated with land sales.  The land acquisition funds are further divided into 80 percent for “in state” acquisitions and 20 percent that can be used in any of the other ten contiguous Western states or Alaska.  For the land acquisition funds, nominations are submitted to the BLM, and an Interagency team (BLM, USFS, NPS and USFWS) evaluates and ranks the proposals. A 2003 Interagency MOU recommended the distribution of land acquisition funds as the following: 60 percent for BLM, 20 percent for USFS; 10 percent for USFWS, and 10 percent for NPS.  Approvals from the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture are required to authorize the funding. 

114th Congress Summary

  • The U.S. Senate passed permanent FLTFA reauthorization as part of the Energy Policy Modernization Act (S. 2012) on April 20, 2016. The individual Senate bill is S. 2189, led by Senators Heinrich (D-NM) and Heller (R-NV) and cosponsored by Senators Bennet (D-CO), Gardner (R-CO), Crapo (R-ID), Risch (R-ID), Tester (D-MT), Daines (R-MT), Wyden (D-OR), and Udall (D-NM).

  • The U.S. House of Representatives passed a seven year FLTFA reauthorization as part of their amendment to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, in May 2016 (the FLTFA language is identical to the language in the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act of 2015 (“SHARE”)(H.R. 2406, Title IX), which passed the House on February 26, 2016. The House Energy Bill, as passed May 2016, includes major and detrimental changes to the original FLTFA: (1) provides no guarantee that any funds will return to conservation, as the change allows up to 100 percent of the proceeds in the Federal Land Disposal Account (FLTFA account) to be directed to deferred maintenance or conservation; (2) makes FLTFA subject to appropriations (originally dedicated funding) in order to overcome House budget rules. The individual House FLTFA bill is H.R. 1651, led by U.S. Representatives Newhouse (R-WA 4) and Lummis (R-WY), which reauthorizes FLTFA for seven years and does not include detrimental changes. The cosponsors are Representatives Amodei (R-NV 2), Chaffetz (R-UT 3), Coffman (R-CO 6), DelBene (D-OR 1), Gibson (R-NY 19), Gosar (R-AZ 4), Grijalva (R-AZ 3), Huffman (D-CA 2), Labrador (R-ID 1), Love (R-UT 4), Lujan (D-NM 3), McMorris Rodgers (R-WA 5), Polis (D-CO 2), Rohrabacher (R-CA 48), Simpson (R-ID 2), and Stewart (R-UT 2).

  • Supporting Documents: 
    o S. 2012, Energy Policy Modernization Act, as passed by the Senate (PDF)
    o S. 2012, Energy Policy Modernization Act, as passed by the House (PDF)
    o S. 2189, Individual Senate FLTFA Reauthorization Bill (PDF)
    o S. 405, Senate Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act (PDF)
    o H.R. 1651, House Individual FLTFA Reauthorization bill  (PDF)
    o H.R. 2406, House Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (PDF)
    o Group Letter to the U.S. Senate (PDF)
    o Group Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives (PDF)

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