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In 1976, with the passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), Congress mandated the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to retain most public lands, significantly reducing the acreage available for disposal.  Select sales continue to remain an important component of the BLM's land management strategy, when these sales are in the public interest and consistent with publicly-approved land use plans.  Undeveloped and unimproved lands, typically near growing communities, may be candidates for sale.  These lands are predominantly located in 11 Western States and Alaska.  Although the sale authority of the BLM is the FLPMA, complimentary authorizations provide specific sale direction and use of sale receipts.


Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act

The Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act (FLTFA), Public Law 106-248, became law on July 25, 2000.  It provides for the sale of public lands identified for disposal under land use plans in effect as of the date of enactment.  The revenue generated from FLTFA sales is split between the respective State (4%) for educational purposes or for the construction of public roads, and a special account (96%) available to the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture for acquisition of land in certain federally designated areas, and for administrative expenses necessary to carry out the sale program.
The FLTFA expired on July 24, 2010. On July 29, 2010, Congress passed an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to extend FLTFA for one year. Because of the break in FLTFA’s authority, the BLM lost all unspent funds for sale processing generated during the first ten years. The administration and sales account is slowly being rebuilt through deposits of revenue from land sale and exchange of public lands since July 24, 2010.

Each BLM State Office has a FLTFA contact person familiar with the program and priorities in that state.

Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009

On March 30, 2009, President Obama signed into law an omnibus lands bill that enhances protection for public lands administered by the BLM across the West. The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (P.L. 111-11), authorized the sale of BLM-administered lands within the Boise District in Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley, and Washington Counties, Idaho and the St. George Field Office in Washington County, Utah.

Owyhee County, Idaho (Subtitle F, Section 1505)

Washington County, Utah (Subtitle O, Section 1978)

Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998

Public Law 105-263

The Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) of 1998, Public Law 105-263, became law in October 1998.  It allows the BLM to sell public land within a specific boundary around Las Vegas, Nevada.  A key provision of the law is that money generated by these land sales remains in Nevada.  The money provides funding for a variety of land management activities emphasizing recreation sites.  Up to 85% of the funds received may be used for:

  • Acquisition of environmentally sensitive land in the State of Nevada, with priority given to lands located within Clark County;
  • Capital improvements at the Lake Meade National Recreation area, the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area (subject to an annual limitation);
  • Development of a multi-species habitat conservation plan in Clark County; and
  • Development of parks, trails, and natural areas in Clark County.

Other provisions in the SNPLMA direct certain land sale and acquisition procedures, direct the BLM to convey title of land in the McCarran Airport noise zone to Clark County, and provide for the sale of land for affordable housing.

Other Special Land Sale Legislation in Nevada

Special legislation specific to Lincoln and White Pine Counties designated over one million acres of wilderness areas, authorized the sale of BLM-administered lands and the use of revenue generated from those sales for wilderness management, archaeological studies, acquisition of sensitive lands, designation and management of off-highway vehicle trails, development of multi-species habitat conservation plans, transfer of land to the State of Nevada and the Ely Shoshone Tribe and reimbursement of costs incurred by BLM to arrange land sales and implement the Acts.

Lincoln County Land Act of 2000 (LCLA) and Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation, Development Act of 2004 (LCCRDA)

 
These Acts stipulate that 85 percent of the proceeds from the sale of public land in Lincoln County be deposited in a special account in the Treasury of the United States and shall be available to the Secretary of the Interior without further act of appropriation. The remaining 15% is paid to the State of Nevada (5%) and Lincoln County (10%). According to the LCCRDA the purpose is: “To establish wilderness areas, promote conservation, improve public land, and provide for the high quality development in Lincoln County, Nevada…”
 
Land Disposal

In addition to the disposal of 13,500 acres of public land under LCLA, the LCCRDA provides for the disposal of up to 90,000 acres of public land within Lincoln County.  The LCCRDA authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to expend without further appropriation the revenue in the LCCRDA Account for:
  • Inventory, evaluation, protection, and management of unique archeological resources in Lincoln County;
  • Reimbursement of costs incurred by the Ely Field Office and Nevada State Office BLM in preparing land sales within Lincoln County as approved in the Ely Field Office Resource Management Plan;
  • Development and implementation of a multi-species habitat conservation plan in Lincoln County;
  • Processing and implementation of Silver State Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Trail management plan; and,
  • Costs for processing and enforcement of designated wilderness areas.

The BLM Ely District Office, other federal, state and local partners established the Lincoln County Archaeological Initiative to allocate monies annually for approved projects in each Round of this process.

White Pine County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act of 2006 (WPCCRDA)

Public Law 109-432

On December 20, 2006, Division C, Title III of Public Law 109-432 created in Nevada, 12 new Wilderness Areas and expanded 2 existing Wilderness Areas. Eight of those areas are managed by the BLM Ely Field Office. The White Pine bill was modeled after the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA), the Clark County Lands bill and the Lincoln County Lands bill.

Land Disposal

The bill sets up an account to dispose of up to 45,000 acres of public lands out of BLM management and into private ownership. The White Pine County Lands Bill distributes 5 percent of land sales proceeds to the state education fund; 10 percent to White Pine County law enforcement, fire protection, transportation and natural resource planning; and 85 percent to create a special account that will fund protection of wilderness areas in White Pine County, support a three-year study for a potential extension of the Silver State OHV trail, promote resource protection and carry out a county-wide recreation study.

Additional information is on the BLM’s Land Sales program is accessible through our FAQ's page and our links page.