On July 5, the House voted unanimously to create a new charity that would allow members of the public to donate money or property to protect federal lands.
The Bureau of Land Management Foundation Act would create the new entity to accept, solicit and administer gifts or donations to advance the BLM mission. Specifically, the foundation would be able to choose to donate to the areas relating to wild free-roaming horses and burros, fish and wildlife and their habitats, National Conservation Lands, recreation resources and cultural and historic resources, as well as cleanup of abandoned mine lands, orphaned oil and gas well sites or public lands impacted by mineral development.
Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., who cosponsored the measure, said the private donations would help offset years of Congress shortchanging the agency.
BLM requested the foundation in its budget, saying the charity would “help link individual Americans to their public land and provide a vehicle for innovative public-private partnerships on the wide range of BLM issues and programs.”
The 2017 BLM budget request for current appropriations is $1.3 billion, $7.1 million above the 2016 enacted level. The budget proposes $1.1 billion for the Management of Lands and Resources appropriation and $107 million for the Oregon and California Grant Lands appropriation. This includes an additional $14.2 million within Wildlife Management to expand BLM conservation efforts for sage-grouse habitat and $88.7 million for BLM Federal land acquisition, including $44.0 million in requested discretionary appropriations and $44.8 million in permanent funding
The BLM Foundation would not require federal appropriations after it received its initial $7 million as called for in the bill.
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