KNAU and Arizona News
Fri March 9, 2012
AZ Senate Votes to Seize Federal Land in State
The Arizona Senate has approved a bill that would attempt to seize control of of federal lands in the state.
Most of the land in Arizona is controlled by federal agencies, but some state lawmakers say the state would be a better manager of that land.
Tucson Republican Senator Al Melvin sponsored the measure.
He says federal regulations are killing industries like mining and timber, and the state could collect more money in property taxes if some of that land is sold.
"In the first 70 years after we became a state," he said, "lumber, mining cattle it all worked well on federal land, no problem, but but in the last 30 years the environmentalists who are controlling the policy in these fed agencies are bringing us collectively to our economic knees."
Critics say state leaders aren’t likely to pay attention to environmental concerns.
Legal experts call the bill unconstitutional.
The Utah legislature approved a similar proposal yesterday, forwarding it to the governor.
The AZ bill now moves to the house.