Public Lands and Environmental Regulation
"The house of America is founded upon our land and if we keep that whole, then the storm can rage, but the house will stand forever." —LYNDON B. JOHNSON
From Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks, to the Tongass National Forest, to Grand Staircase Escalante and Canyons of the Ancients National Monuments, the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation has jurisdiction over some of the most treasured natural resources in the United States, and the federal agencies tasked with their protection.
National Park Service: founded in 1916; manages 84 million acres in almost 400 units; welcomes 285 million visitors annually; 21,000 employees; annual budget of almost $3 billion.
Forest Service: founded in 1905; manages 193 million acres in 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands; roughly 30% of all federal land; 30,000 employees; annual budget of roughly $6 billion.
Bureau of Land Management: founded in 1946; manages 245 million surface and 700 million subsurface acres; roughly 40% of all federal land; manages 380 recreational sites, 21 national conservation areas, 16 national monuments and vast areas of open public land; annual budget of roughly $1 billion; roughly 10,000 employees.
The Subcommittee handles all legislation and oversight activities concerning these three federal land management agencies, as well as a variety of programs cutting across agencies such as wilderness, wild and scenic rivers, historic preservation, trails, recreation and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
While the missions and resources managed by these agencies vary, the fundamental challenge they and the subcommittee face is the same: balancing the near-term use and enjoyment of our natural resources with the goals of long-term conservation and responsible stewardship.
Such a balance is best achieved when these agencies are adequately funded and staffed and engaged in large-scale, long-term planning and management activities which value not only resource and economic development but also less easily quantifiable benefits such as exploring primitive areas in solitude, witnessing wildlife in action and retracing the steps of our forbears.
Topics & Issues
- Land & Water Conservation Fund