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    Padilla, LaMalfa urge Bureau of Land Management to Engage with Tribes under the Recreation & Public Policy Tribal Parity Act

    U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.-01) wrote a letter to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) urging them to conduct extensive outreach to Tribal governments as they implement their Recreation & Public Purposes Tribal Parity Act, which President Biden signed into law earlier this year.

    Senator Padilla and Congressman LaMalfa’s Recreation & Public Purposes Tribal Parity Act ensures that Tribal governments have parity with state and local governments in participating in the Recreation and Public Purposes Act (R&PP). This existing program previously only allowed BLM to sell and lease certain public lands to state and local governments and qualifying non-profits, often significantly below market value, if those lands were used for recreational use or other public purposes. But unlike state and local governments, Tribal governments were omitted when the R&PP first became law in 1926.

    In their letter, the lawmakers applaud BLM for supporting the Recreation & Public Purposes Tribal Parity Act and for recognizing the inequity of not including Tribal governments in the original R&PP. The lawmakers also specifically recognize that passage of their legislation will enable the transfer of property from the Chico State Enterprises to the Susanville Indian Rancheria.

    “This law can have a much more widespread impact for Tribal governments in California and across the nation, which is why we write to ask that the BLM conduct extensive outreach to Tribal governments about the opportunities for land acquisition and conveyance under the R&PP,” the lawmakers wrote. “While state and local governments have been leasing and purchasing public lands for recreational or public purposes for over a century, it is unlikely that Tribal governments across the country are aware of the opportunities under R&PP following enactment of our legislation. Conducting this outreach would also help BLM fulfill its trust responsibility to Tribal governments.”

    Under the Recreation & Public Purposes Act, conveyed lands have become locations for historic monument sites, campgrounds, schools, courthouses, parks, firehouses, law enforcement facilities, municipal facilities, landfills and water treatment plants, fairgrounds and hospitals. Thanks to enactment of Padilla and LaMalfa’s legislation, Tribal governments will now have the same opportunities as other governments do to use public lands for beneficial public purposes.

    Text of the Recreation and Public Purposes Tribal Parity Act, which became law, is available here.

    Full text of the letter is available here and below.

    Dear Director Manning:

    We write to build upon our bipartisan success in enacting the Recreation and Public Purposes Tribal Parity Act in the final days of the 117th Congress. Thank you for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) strong support for our legislation, and for your testimony highlighting how our legislation strengthens opportunities for Tribal engagement in the management of federal lands. We share BLM’s view that including Tribes as one of the entities eligible under the Recreation & Public Purposes Act (R&PP) is a long overdue fix to bring parity to Tribal Nations, and are proud to have partnered with the Administration in this effort.

    Because of the law’s enactment, we understand that the Department of the Interior will now be able to transfer a parcel of property that the Chico State Enterprises, an auxiliary of California State University – Chico currently has in its possession to the Susanville Indian Rancheria. The Tribe has a deep cultural, historical, and geographical connection to this land, and in accordance with the R&PP, are planning to use this site for cultural, educational, and recreational purposes only.

    But this law can have a much more widespread impact for Tribal governments in California and across the nation, which is why we write to ask that the BLM conduct extensive outreach to Tribal governments about the opportunities for land acquisition and conveyance under the R&PP. While state and local governments have been leasing and purchasing public lands for recreational or public purposes for over a century, it is unlikely that Tribal governments across the country are aware of the opportunities under R&PP following enactment of our legislation. Conducting this outreach would also help BLM fulfill its trust responsibility to Tribal governments. We ask that you keep us appraised of BLM’s plans for Tribal engagement, and want you to know that we stand ready to assist in any way we can.

    Thank you again for your partnership, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure that Tribal Nations have increased opportunities to participate in the management of public lands.

    Sincerely,

    Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA)
    Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA)https://www.padilla.senate.gov/
    The proud son of immigrants from Mexico, Senator Alex Padilla, believes in giving everyone a fair shot at the American dream. A progressive problem solver, Alex has dedicated his career to finding solutions to the toughest challenges and fighting for communities that are too often left out and left behind.
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