Senate kills Lankford’s attempt to fix federal land maintenance

“Let’s not be a bad landowner.” Sen. James Lankford Feb. 7, 2019.

Oklahoma U.S. Sen. James Lankford says all he was attempting to do was bring some “common sense” to the way the federal government spends money on making land purchases.

His amendment to the Land Water Conservation Fund act was killed Thursday in a 66-33 vote to table the measure. Sen. Jim  Inhofe joined Lankford in voting against tabling his Senate Amendment 158.

“My amendment to require the federal government to fix maintenance problems on federal properties when we buy them, just failed. Only DC thinks you can ignore what is broken and it will get better on its own,” tweeted the Senator.

The Senator argued that the Land Water Conservation Fund was set up to purchase new property but it lacked any capability of paying for problems on the land or maintenance.

“There is no requirement that if there is a problem on that piece of property that we fix it. So sometimes the land sits idle for up to 10 years or more,” he argued in comments on the Senate floor.

His amendment he argued was “an easy fix” by requiring the use of money from the same fund to make immediate corrections or “fixes.” He proposed using only 5% of the fund for maintenance and corrections of land problems.

“That way you don’t have to wait a decade before you put it into use. It’s just common sense,” said the Senator who explained there is already $16 billion in total backlog on such fixes of government-owned land. Yellowstone National Park has  $100 million in preferred maintenance “with no plan to fix it.”

“Let’s actually start repairing now.  Let’s not be a bad landowner,” pleaded the senator.

In the end the 66 who voted against it were mostly Democrats with the help of 20 Republican Senators.

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