Point of Beginning

MAPPS Applauds Reintroduction of FLAIR Act in U.S. Senate

September 6, 2011
A bill to develop a current, accurate Federal cadastre to inventory all Federal real property has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, earning praise from MAPPS, the national association of private sector geospatial firms.

A bill to develop a current, accurate Federal cadastre to inventory all Federal real property has been introduced in the U.S. Senate, earning praise from MAPPS (www.mapps.org), the national association of private sector geospatial firms.

The Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform ("FLAIR") Act, S. 1153, was introduced June 7 by U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Mike Lee (R-UT).

In a statement describing the bill, Sen. Hatch said, "Everyone knows that the federal government is the nation's largest landowner. In fact, they own more than 60 percent of all the land in Utah. Incredibly, though, no one knows precisely how much the federal government owns because it does not keep an accurate inventory, which can and has led to waste and poor management. This bill will require the government to use existing technology to put an end to this problem through the development of a single, uniform, database that will identify all federal landholdings." Hatch continued, "That will help the federal and state governments know what lands are available for sale and how much energy and other resources are available on those holdings for development. It also will save taxpayer money by eliminating the more than two-score inaccurate, wasteful and duplicative databases the government currently relies on to track its real estate holdings."

An accurate inventory of land owned by the Federal government has been recommended by the Government Accountability Office and the National Academy of Sciences. The FLAIR Act implements these recommendations, as well as calls for an inventory of existing inventories to eliminate duplication and save tax dollars. In testimony before Congress in 2005, then Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton said the Interior Department alone operates more than 100 different property management systems.

MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello expressed deep appreciation for the leadership of Senators Hatch and Lee. "Mr. Hatch and Mr. Lee have been working with many stakeholders to introduce this important Federal legislation. MAPPS commends Senators Hatch and Lee and looks forward to working with them to enact the FLAIR Act," Palatiello said. Previous introductions of the FLAIR Act have earned the support of organizations including the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) and the National States Geographic Information Council (NSGIC). "The bill would establish a multi-purpose cadastre or an interoperable parcel based geographic information system. This is a prime example of an opportunity to 'map it once, use it many times'," Palatiello said.

MAPPS members promoted the FLAIR Act in Congress during the association's annual Federal Programs Conference, held March 15-16 in Washington, DC through meetings with members of Congress and staff. In April, Representatives Ron Kind (D-WI) and Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced the House companion bill, H.R. 1620, and have gained bipartisan co-sponsorship from Representatives Jason Altmire (D-PA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Bruce Braley (D-IA), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Mike Coffman (R-CO), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), and Todd Platts (R-PA).