Federal Lands and Natural Resources: Overview and Selected Issues for the 114th Congress [April 6, 2015] [open pdf - 564KB]
"The Property Clause in the U.S. Constitution (Article IV, §3, Clause 2) grants Congress the authority to acquire, dispose of, and manage federal property. The 114th Congress may consider multiple federal land and natural resources policy and management issues. These issues are complex and often interrelated, and include how much and which land the government should own, and how lands and resources should be used and managed. These issues affect local communities, industries, ecosystems, and the nation. There are approximately 640 million surface acres of federally owned land in the United States. Four agencies (referred to in this report as the federal land management agencies, or FLMAs) administer approximately 609 million surface acres (95%) of federal lands: the Forest Service (FS) in the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and National Park Service (NPS), all in the Department of the Interior (DOI). […]This report introduces some of the broad themes and issues Congress considers when addressing federal land policy and resource management, including questions about the extent and location of the federal estate. For example, legislation may be introduced in the 114th Congress to continue funding laws that authorize the acquisition of additional lands, and other legislation may propose to convey some land out of federal ownership or management. Other issues for Congress may include whether certain lands or resources should have additional protections, for example, by designating certain lands as wilderness or national monuments, or protecting endangered species and their habitat. Congress also may address questions about wildfire management on both federal and nonfederal lands, such as questions about funding suppression efforts."
CRS Report for Congress, R43429
National Agricultural Law Center: http://nationalaglawcenter.org/