Ariz. ballot measure would transfer Grand Canyon to state control
Written byTIM GAYNOR, Reuters
Arizonans will vote on a controversial measure that seeks to transfer millions of acres of public land in the state -- including the Grand Canyon -- from federal to state control.
The measure, Proposition 120, is backed by Republicans in the state Legislature. It would amend the state constitution so the state would have sovereignty over the "air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state's boundaries."
State Sen. Sylvia Allen (R) said the federal government's control of land hurts the economy of states in the West.
"We do not have the ability in rural Arizona to provide jobs for our citizens due to the fact that the federal government controls all the land," she said. "It leaves us at a great disadvantage. We're not able to bring in industry and provide for the jobs that we need."
The effort is the latest in the "sagebrush revolt" being led by Republicans in the West to take back lands owned by federal agencies. Earlier this year, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed into law legislation that seizes federally owned land.
But Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) vetoed a similar piece of legislation, saying it created uncertainty for existing leaseholders