Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Forest Service, BLM could lose law enforcement units under new bill

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management could lose their law enforcement functions, according to a new bill from House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).  The Local Enforcement for Local Lands Act abolishes law enforcement units at the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. The bill says state and local law enforcement should police federal lands instead. It also requires that both secretaries at the Agriculture and Interior departments give grants to those states to fund their enforcement activities.
Reps. Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and Mia Love (R-Utah), are also co-sponsors of the legislation,  which currently sits with the House Agriculture Committee.  Specifically, the bill would get rid of the Forest Service Law Enforcement and Investigations unit within the Agriculture Department and the BLM Office of Law Enforcement at the Interior Department. It also requires that both secretaries report to Congress how they’re using the grants development program, and the states must demonstrate that they’re using the funding only for law enforcement purposes in an annual report. Chaffetz and other lawmakers said the bill is partly in reaction to reported conflicts between federal land officers and local communities. A letter from the Utah Sheriffs Association, which actively supports Chaffetz’s bill, mentions “aggressive and over reactive federal land agents.” Nate Catura, national president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, said though concerns from groups such as the Utah Sheriffs and Western Sheriffs Associations are valid, conflicts between federal, state and local law enforcement are not widespread across the entire country...more

Sec. 303 of FLPMA states:

When the Secretary determines that assistance is necessary in enforcing Federal laws and regulations relating to the public lands or their resources he shall offer a contract to appropriate local officials having law enforcement authority within their respective jurisdictions with the view of achieving maximum feasible reliance upon local law enforcement officials in enforcing such laws and regulations. The Secretary shall negotiate on reasonable terms with such officials who have authority to enter into such contracts to enforce such Federal laws and regulations.

BLM's FY2017 budget justification calls for $125.6 million and 124 FTEs.  No way are they achieving "maximum feasible reliance upon local law enforcement officials."



Anonymous said...

kirklands notes, check it out...


Anonymous said...

According to the Constitution for the United States, all public land already belongs to the state in which it is located. So why do we need a new law which references "federal lands" when there is no such thing except in Washington DC? Just start following that Constitution, nullify all unconstitutional laws, and get this country headed back to what the founding fathers envisioned. I don't understand why our leaders cant figure that out. Can any of them be counted as patriots? Do this and the great majority of our country's problems will be solved.