House advances federal land use bill

The bill combines 14 land use bills, and while some are bipartisan, Democrats indicated opposition to some of these during the rule debate. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), for example, said she and other Democrats oppose language that would open land in Alaska to drilling, and ease environmental rules along the border to allow Customs and Border Protection officials to access that land.

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Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), however, argued that the latter provision is required because of current restrictions that limit CBP access to federal land, which makes a majority of the land in Arizona.

"One of the ironies is our border patrol, which is tasked with securing our border, has almost unlimited rights to do what they need to do to protect our border on private property, and no one objects to it," Bishop said. "It is only on federal property that the federal border patrol is prohibited from doing its federal job."

Bishop also defended language that would scale back limitations on the use of land in Cape Hatteras, N.C., for environmental reasons due to what he said was federal government overreach.

Approval of the rule sets up a 90 minute debate on the bill, followed by consideration of up to seven amendments.

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