Last Minute Creation of BLM Foundation is Concerning
May 12, 2017
The American Sheep Industry Association joined with the Public Lands Council, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and nearly two dozen state affiliate livestock associations in voicing concern about the creation of a new Bureau of Land Management Foundation, which was included in the FY 2017 Interior Appropriations bill.
In a letter dated May 9, the groups called for interior appropriations subcommittees in both the House and the Senate to “rethink this language while drafting language for the FY 2018 appropriations bill.
“Buried in the hundreds of pages of bill and report language is Section 122 which creates a new, Congressionally-authorized Bureau of Land Management Foundation,” the letter states. “This Foundation was championed by Obama Administration officials like former Sec. Sally Jewell and BLM Director Neil Kornze. There are several parts of this language that are of great concern. The language creates a new quasi-governmental foundation that has broad authority, and a board of directors that is not overseen by Congress. The BLM Foundation would have the ability to hold real property, including land, water, or interest in land or water, essentially adding to the federal estate. While funding is to be by private donation, funds to establish an office and meet administrative, project and other expenses are appropriated through the FY 17 appropriations bill. It is simply inappropriate to include authorizing language for a brand new entity in a short-term spending bill.”
ASI, along with the other groups signing on to the letter, is concerned with the fact that the language creating the BLM Foundation did not appear in previous drafts of the bill and was never debated on the floor by members of Congress.
“To slip this into a must-pass spending bill at midnight on a Sunday is inappropriate, and does not speak to the transparency that is essential to honest decision-making,” the letter states. “The Western communities that will be most impacted by this new unchecked entity deserve better than this.”