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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 354

Anniversary of Federal Land Policy Management Act
October 21, 1976

The Federal Land Policy Management Act, or FLPMA (Pub.L. 94-579), hits its 32 year anniversary this week.  FLPMA is a federal law enacted by the 94th Congress and signed by President Gerald Ford on October 21, 1976, that significantly changed the way the public lands are managed by the federal government and shaped BLM into the agency it is today.  FLPMA was the product of the bipartisan Public Land Law Review Commission established by Congress in 1964, who published the report “One Third of the Nation’s Land” in 1970 that detailed recommendations on how the nation’s public lands should be managed.  However, it took three successive congresses deliberating over the details of the bill before it was finally passed in 1976. 

As the bill that gave birth to BLM’s mission and management responsibilities, FLPMA is called BLM’s Organic Act and it proclaims “multiple use,” “sustained yield” and “environmental protection” as the guiding principles for public land management.  In the act, Congress first recognized the value of public lands to the citizens of the United States and stated that the public lands and their various resource values should be managed “so that they are utilized in the combination that will best meet the present and future needs of the American people."

FLPMA also declared as policy that the remaining public domain lands would be retained in federal ownership unless disposal of a particular parcel was deemed to serve the national interest; a significant reversal to US public lands policy.  Many other land and resource management authorities were established, amended, or repealed by FLPMA, including provisions on Federal land withdrawals, land acquisitions and exchanges, rights-of-way, advisory groups, range management, and the general organization and administration of BLM and the public lands.


Text of "The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 As Amended" (PDF file, 1.9 megabytes, 76 pages)

"FLPMA turns 30" An article written for the 30th anniversary of FLPMA, in 2006, that summarizes provisions of FLPMA and its effect on the BLM

"Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976"  Links to more information on FLPMA, gathered on its 25th anniversary, in 2001

"Remembering Eleanor Schwartz (1912–2000)" - commemorating the life of the woman "who helped legislators craft the bill that would fundamentally change the way our public lands are managed."

"A Capsule Examination of the Legislative History of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976" (PDF file, 190 KB, 11 pages) - Eleanor Schwartz recalls the long road to passage of FLPMA, and how its provisions evolved until it became law.

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 354

Last updated: 10-17-2008