AZ Voters To Decide Who Will "Own" The Grand Canyon?

Oct 24, 2012

When Arizonans go to the polls next month they'll be asked to decide whether the Grand Canyon should belong to all Americans or just Arizonans.

Proposition 120 is a Republican-backed landownership measure that, if passed, would claim Arizona's sovereignty over millions of acres of federal land, including the Grand Canyon. It would amend the state's constitution to declare sovereignty and jurisdiction over the "air, water, public lands...and other natural resources within the state's boundaries" with the exception of tribal land. The measure is part of the so-called "Sagebrush Revolt" led by Republicans in western states to take back control of large areas of land owned by federal agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management. Supporters say federal retention of land hurts the economy in western states. Opponents fear the initiative could jeopardize protections provided by federal environmental law, including the Clean Air and Water Acts and the Endangered Species Act. They also say the state is in no shape financially to take on the cost of such a plan.