By Nicole Smith
Legislation to create a current, accurate inventory or “cadastre” of Federal land owned by the Department of the Interior as well as the U.S. Forest Service, known as the Federal Land Asset Inventory Reform (FLAIR) Act, was enacted into law as part of the Omnibus appropriations bill passed by Congress and signed by President Biden on Thursday, December 29.
The provision is found in H.R.2617 the Consolidated Appropriations Act, FY 2023, also known as the Omnibus appropriations bill (4,155 pages), in Division DD – Public Land Management, Title I Department of the Interior Provisions, Sec. 103, Cadastre of Federal Real Property, beginning on page 2856.
“This is a huge victory for the geospatial community. We first wrote the FLAIR Act and had it introduced in 2005. Years of persistence and hard work by many finally paid off. John “JB” Byrd of our firm played a critical role, having been a witness at a House committee hearing on the bill earlier this year, and adroitly and with tenacity shepherding the bill through the House and Senate.
“When building GIS or doing survey records research, this cadastre will make such data access and integration much more efficient. It will also improve Federal land management,” said John Palatiello of Miller Wenhold Capitol Strategies and Miller Wenhold Association Management (“MW”). Among the MW clients supporting the bill were the National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) and the U.S. Geospatial Executives Organization (US. GEO).
On Friday, December 30, One America News Network (OANN) aired an interview with Mr. Palatiello. To view the interview, click here. The bipartisan cadastre legislation, introduced in 2021 in the House by Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and in the Senate by Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM) had earlier been approved unanimously by the respective House and Senate committees of jurisdiction before agreement was reached to include it in the Omnibus bill.