Utah Republican Withdraws Bill To Auction Off 100,000 Acres Of Federal Land In Colorado

February 1, 2017

Update Feb. 2, 7:32 A.M: Rep. Jason Chaffetz has pulled his bill that proposed to sell off public lands. He made the announcement on Instagram after outcry from sportsmen and other opposition voices, saying "I hear you."

Our original story continues below:

Almost 100,000 acres of federal land in Colorado spread over 29 counties could be on the auction block if a bill introduced in Congress passes into law. That’s an area about the same size as the City of Denver.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced H.R. 621, the Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act, as part of what he calls a “land management” initiative. It directs the Secretary of the Interior “to sell certain Federal lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming, previously identified as suitable for disposal, and for other purposes.”

“The long overdue disposal of excess federal lands will free up resources for the federal government while providing much-needed opportunities for economic development in struggling rural communities,” Chaffetz said in a statement announcing the legislation.

According to the 20-year-old report from the Department of Interior which Chaffetz says he used as the guidepost for his legislation (and which he posted here), the largest parcels for “disposal” are in Nevada and Wyoming. The smallest acreage is in Nevada.

  • Arizona: 453,950 acres
  • Colorado: 93,741 acres
  • Idaho: 110,022 acres
  • Montana: 94,520 acres
  • Nebraska: 6,615
  • Nevada: 898,531
  • Oregon: 813,531 acres
  • Utah: 132, 931 acres
  • Wyoming: 813,531 acres

The original report, prepared for the Clinton Administration, aimed “to identify unreserved and unappropriated Federal lands that were available for disposal or exchange to aid in the restoration of the Florida Everglades.”

The county-by-county breakdown in Colorado from the 1997 report doesn’t name the individual parcels, just their total acreage. It does list the name and contact information of the appraiser and estimated value of the land in 1997 dollars. There are parcels in 29 counties, the largest being 13,451 acres in Rio Blanco County, and the smallest being Otero County’s 125 acres.

  • Archuletta County: 1,894 ares
  • Baca County: 360 acres
  • Bent County: 1,224 acres
  • Crowley County: 4,400 acres
  • Delta County: 1,800 acres
  • Garfield County:1,718 acres
  • Grand County: 11,976 acres
  • Gunnison County: 360 acres
  • Huerfano County: 3,200 acres
  • Jackson County: 6,517 acres
  • Kiowa County: 8,160 acres
  • La Plata County: 1,340 acres
  • Larimer County: 560 acres
  • Lincoln County: 1,872 acres
  • Moffat County: 4,805 acres
  • Montezuma County: 1,470 acres
  • Montrose County: 2,105 acres
  • Morgan County: 890 acres
  • Otero County: 125 acres
  • Ouray County: 240 acres
  • Park County: 2,000 acres
  • Prowers County: 750 acres
  • Pueblo County: 2,800 acres
  • Rio Blanco County: 13,451 acres
  • Routt County: 5,334 acres
  • San Miguel County (Uncompahgre Resource Area): 1,240 acres
  • San Miguel (San Juan Resource Area): 780 acres
  • Summit County: 160 acres
  • Washington County: 800 acres
  • Yuma County: 240 aces