Following the abusive nature of the Bureau of Land Management and the controversy over land that has been unconstitutionally grabbed by Washington, D.C. government, things are finally coming to a head.
Rep. [score]Jason Chaffetz[/score] (R-UT) has introduced legislation that would “terminate the law enforcement functions of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management and to provide block grants to States for the enforcement of Federal law on Federal land under the jurisdiction of these agencies, and for other purposes.”
HR 4751 is titled “Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act.” The bill does the following:
- Terminates the law enforcement function within BLM and Forest Service.
- Provides block granted funding to local law enforcement.
- Deputizes local law enforcement to defend federal land.
- Establishes a formula to reimburse local governments for law enforcement on public lands based on the percentage of public land in each state.
- Restores responsibility for law enforcement to elected officials who are accountable to the local community.
“Federal agencies do not enjoy the same level of trust and respect as local law enforcement that are deeply rooted in local communities,” Chaffetz said in a statement. “This legislation will help de-escalate conflicts between law enforcement and local residents while improving transparency and accountability. The BLM and Forest Service will be able to focus on their core missions without the distraction of police functions.”
Chaffetz has the support of the Utah Sheriffs’ Association as well.
In a March 16 letter to Chaffetz from Sheriff Robert Dekker, President of the Utah Sheriffs’ Association, he wrote, “Last week the Utah Sheriffs Association met with you and your staff in reference to the Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act at the Utah State Capitol. Utah Sheriffs have a strong heritage in keeping the authority of the Sheriff a top priority. The Utah Sheriffs Association has seen federal officials try and usurp this authority by enacting laws and regulations that mirror state law. They have dealt with aggressive and over reactive federal land agents and have joined with other Western States Sheriffs in the same issues.”
“The Utah Sheriffs Association applauds you in recognizing this problem and reigning [sic] in these federal land management agents,” Dekker added. “We support this bill 100% and would like to help in any possible way. Thank you for looking out for Utah Sheriffs and the authority our constituents and the constitution has granted us.”
So far, Chaffetz has five co-sponsors: Reps. [score]Rob Bishop[/score] (R-UT), [score]Chris Stewart[/score] (R-UT), [score]Mia Love[/score] (R-UT), [score]Dan Newhouse [/score](R-WA), and [score]Paul A. Gosar[/score] (R-AZ).