Tipton Bill to Protect Private Property Rights Clears Committee
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, the House Natural Resources Committee passed Congressman Scott Tipton’s (CO-03) Protection and Transparency for Adjacent Landowners Act (H.R. 6682). This bill would increase transparency and certainty for private landowners during a federal land acquisition, reclassification or resurvey process.
“I have heard accounts from Coloradans who have had their property values decrease because a federal agency purchased land adjacent to theirs or have lost property altogether because of a survey mistake made by the federal government,” said Tipton. “This legislation would increase notification and transparency and protect private property rights, ensuring private property owners don’t suffer because of the mistakes and actions of the federal government.”
Often, a landowner is not notified when a parcel adjacent to theirs will be acquired by the federal government. In a situation where several tracts of land are acquired around a private parcel, the private land has the potential to be devalued. Without knowledge of the acquisitions, the private landowner is unable to take action to protect their assets. Additionally, federal resurveys can create problems for private landowners with property next to the parcel to be resurveyed. Private landowners may not know that the resurvey is happening or be notified of the results. Therefore, a property owner may unwittingly continue to use land they believe to be theirs after it is reclassified as public land following a resurvey. In some cases, the private landowner has made improvements to or investments in the now-public land. In a statement before the Natural Resources Committee, Tipton gave examples where each of these scenarios negatively impacted private landowners.
Watch Tipton speak in support of H.R. 6682, HERE.
H.R. 6682 would better protect private property rights by mandating the following:
- The BLM and USFS must provide advance written notice to each owner of land that is located adjacent to a parcel of land that is to be acquired by the agency;
- If the BLM or USFS determines that property previously believed to be private property should be reclassified as federal land, the private landowner must have the first right of refusal to purchase the land at fair market value, or be reimbursed for the fair market value of any significant improvements they made to the land;
- If the BLM or USFS determines that property previously believed to be private property should be reclassified as federal land, the private landowner cannot be charged with trespassing unless they access the land after they had knowledge that the land was owned by the federal government.
# # #