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GAO reported on the Bureau of Reclamation's process for identifying unused, underused, and unneeded land.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of the Interior 1. The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, to transfer any unneeded public domain land used or needed by other federal agencies to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for disposition.
Closed - Implemented
The Bureau of Reclamation identified 1,811,696 acres of withdrawn land it no longer needed and submitted requests to BLM to revoke the withdrawals on these lands and restore them to the public domain so that they will be available for use by other federal agencies.
Department of the Interior 2. The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, to consider whether interests of the federal government that would be advanced by amending the 1943 Columbia Basin Project Act to recover future surplus settlement land sale revenues for the government rather than crediting them to the repayment obligations of the project's three irrigation districts outweigh the interests of the districts. Should it be determined that the government's interests are paramount, legislation should be submitted to Congress specifying that future surplus revenues from settlement land sales shall be credited to the federal government.
Closed - Implemented
According to the Bureau of Reclamation, any proposed amendments should come from Congress since the intent of Congress was to credit the revenues from the sale of surplus settlement lands to the repayment obligations of the project's three irrigation districts. Because an impasse exists between GAO and the Bureau, GAO is closing the recommendation.
Department of the Interior 3. The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation, to refrain from selling settlement land at the Columbia Basin Project until consideration of the proper disposition of future surplus settlement land sale revenues has been completed.
Closed - Implemented
This recommendation is based on another recommendation, and since the Bureau plans to take no further action on that recommendation, it will resume selling settlement land at the Columbia Basin Project and will resume crediting the revenues as has been done in the past. Because an impasse exists between GAO and the Bureau, GAO is closing the recommendation.

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