The federal government owns almost half of all the land in the Western United States, and over 35 percent of land in Colorado. These lands are in our own backyard, and I firmly believe that Coloradans should have a voice in conversations about federal land management.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages over 8 million acres in Colorado, recently issued a request for input on how the agency can complete land use planning procedures and environmental reviews quicker and in a way that is more cost effective. The BLM also wants to ensure it is responsive to the needs of Coloradans.
I want to make sure important land management decisions are made by the people who know the land best, so I encourage you to share your ideas and input with the BLM. The Bureau has indicated that it plans to incorporate all of the information it receives in a report that will be delivered to Secretary Zinke later this year. The deadline to submit your input is July 24, 2017.
Speaking of public lands, earlier this year I requested that the Department of the Interior fully fund the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program. With so much of the land in Colorado owned by the federal government, PILT payments to offset the loss of tax revenue are extremely important to our communities. The Department recently announced that PILT payments in 2017 will total $464.6 million, which is the largest amount ever allocated since the program was created.
Colorado will receive over $36 million in PILT payments for FY17.
It is a honor to serve the people of the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado. If you’d like to receive more updates on my work in Colorado and Washington, be sure to follow me on Facebook.