Sen. James A. McClure (R-Idaho) and Rep. Larry R. Craig (R-Idaho) have asked Reagan to abolish the Property Review Board at the White House, saying that people living near land being considered for the government's sales program are not being consulted adequately.
"The basic objective . . . is to better manage our nation's public lands and real property holdings," the congressmen wrote. "Unfortunately, the public has come to perceive the program as an attempt to sell property and land purely for economic gain, without regard to the alternative means for disposal such as exchange or transfer or without careful examining of potential value of these holdings may have in protecting and managing our nation's natural resources."
"The rhetoric from, and about, the Property Review Board has poisoned the well," said Tod O. Neuenschawnder, McClure's administrative assistant. "This is an effort to tone down the rhetoric."
When the board was created in February, 1982, Reagan set up the Board and projected that the government would be able to earn $17 billion from land sales that could be used to reduce the national debt.
However, sales have lagged behind early projections, and legislation to redirect the funds into an account designated to offset the debt has won little support on Capitol Hill.
In a statement, Craig said: "I do not accept profit motive . . . as the primary objective of the disposal program."
"The board serves a lot of purposes that are useful, but I can't comment on this missile from McClure and Craig . . . because I haven't seen it," said Joshua A. Muss, the board's executive director.
Neuenschawnder said McClure did not object to efforts by the General Services Administration to sell off surplus federal land, only to moves to dispose of land held by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, large tracts of which are in Idaho. --Cass Peterson and Myron Struck