The draft has leaked, and you can read it here.
There is a whole section on a Rural Infrastructure Program - which appears to be a series of costly FDR-type programs - the section that interests me the most has the following:
This has Zinke written all over it. Recall this from January of last year:
Both Aengst and Tawney are encouraged by a few of Zinke’s other positions, particularly his flat opposition to selling or transferring public lands to states or private interests, along with his support for permanently authorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which funnels oil and gas royalties to projects that promote recreation, wildlife habitat, parks and wilderness. Zinke also said addressing the maintenance backlog at national parks would be one of his top priorities, indicating that money to keep up roads, trails and toilets in the parks should be included in the infrastructure bill President-Elect Donald Trump has promised.The devil, as they say, will be in the details, which we don't currently have. For instance, in the Interior Maintenance Fund, what are the details of the "additional revenues"? The details for the disposition of federal property will have to wait until we see the Executive Order.
One should note that authorizing an agency to dispose of federal property doen't mean they will actually do it. The program is to be established administratively and so can be withdrawn administratively by future administrations. The new land acquisition fund, however, would be established legislatively, be "mandatory" and with us permanently.
dispose --- voluntary, short term + acquire --- mandatory, permanent = a larger federal estate.
And since both Trump and Zinke are opposed to disposing of "public" lands, that leaves you with lots, bldgs,, etc. In other words, that is in there as a sop, a political sleight-of-hand, an attempt to show balance between disposition and acquisition.. Here is how that would play out:
Dispose of a lot and bldg. in downtown Philadelphia. Pa
Acquire a medium-sized ranch outside of Cheyenne, Wyo.
Dispose by the sq.ft., acquire by the acre.
It appears we may have a Republican White House and a Republican Congress working together to increase the size of the federal estate and to diminish the amount of private property in our country, all served up in a big spending, Obama-like bailout