WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today released the following statement after voting against the Great American Outdoors Act, legislation that would give the federal government control over more of Utah’s lands and add to the national debt by authorizing increased mandatory spending. Romney co-sponsored an amendment that would address the massive federal lands maintenance backlog, which was not included in the final legislation.
“I voted against this legislation for two reasons. First, it calls for billions in new mandatory spending—funding that Congress didn’t provide for in the budget that would add to the deficit and to the debt,” Senator Romney said. “Second, it directs the federal government to annually buy nearly a billion dollars of land. The majority of land in our state is already owned by the federal government; more federal land purchases would mean depleted tax revenues for our counties and more federal control. I will continue to push for policies that increase local control and input on how Utah’s lands are managed.”
Senator Romney also co-sponsored a series of amendments with Senator Lee aimed at limiting federal land acquisition in the West. These measures would require state approval for acquisition of lands, add transparency on the costs and effects of projects to Utah, include Utah in the limitation of establishing national monuments, and allow federal land acquisitions only if the federal government sells an existing land or water holding in the state.