A conservative watchdog group filed a lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Wednesday for withholding information regarding the agency’s land purchases in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.
Cause of Action Institute filed the suit after BLM didn’t produce related documents nearly six months after the watchdog submitted a Freedom of Information Act request. The requested records include purchase agreements, appraisals and related communications. (RELATED: Obama Puts 1.6 Million Acres Under Stricter Federal Control Despite Intense Local Opposition)
“When the Bureau of Land Management buys private land to add to the hundreds of millions of acres the federal government already owns, Americans have a right to know why,” Cause of Action Institute Assistant Vice President Lee Steven said in a statement.
“According to the Congressional Research Service, the federal government owns almost half the land of 11 western states and more than 60 percent of Alaska,” he continued. “The last thing these states need is more federal control of their land.”
BLM already controls around 250 million acres and requested another $90 million for new purchases last year, according to the watchdog. (RELATED: Uncle Sam Owns This Much Of America [Interactive Map])
“In many cases, however, little information about the details of BLM transactions is publicly available,” Cause of Action Institute’s complaint said.
The watchdog’s statement added: “Americans deserve to understand how and why the BLM wants to increase its control over land that could otherwise be used for private or state purposes.”
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