MSNBC reports the US House of Representatives is set to vote Thursday on a bill that would give the President of the United States broad power to sell off federal land.
The bill, introduced by the US Republican Congressman, Jim Jordan, would give him the power to “dispose of, transfer, and sell” federal land as he sees fit, without congressional approval.
Jordan’s bill is likely to pass.
However, it is far from a slam dunk, as the legislation still needs to pass a Senate and be signed into law by President Donald Trump.
Jordan says the bill would allow the President to dispose of federal land “for public use” and “for private property” if it is not “in public use”.
The bill also calls for the President “to take action to acquire or retain the property for the purpose of the disposal, transfer or sale”.
The US House passed the bill by a vote of 257-184 on Thursday.
Jordan is one of only four members of Congress to have voted against the legislation, which has been criticised by environmentalists as an extension of the US’s “War on Coal” campaign against coal mining.
Critics say the legislation would give federal lands to the White House without a proper consideration of how it would benefit local communities.
Jordan told the New York Times that the legislation is needed to “remove the spectre of the president taking over federal lands for his own personal use, and he has a responsibility to take that into account”.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
“There’s a lot of stuff that the government can do, but when you’re going to have a President who is going to do it, you need a process.”
The bill would also allow for the sale of federal lands at fair market value, with the proceeds going to the US Treasury, and for the Secretary of the Interior to “transfer” the lands to other federal agencies.
The legislation has also been called into question by several states, including Wyoming, Colorado and Alaska, which have also expressed concerns over the potential of the bill passing.
The US has seen a number of coal mining scandals in recent years, with former President Donald Trumps former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his former business partner Rick Gates being charged with embezzlement, and an investigation into the company known as AMS Coal which was found to have lied about its environmental record.