Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Arizona lands bill goes down to defeat

PROP 120 Voters defeated Proposition 120 by a 2-1 margin. It would have amended the state Constitution to read, “Arizona declares its sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its boundaries.” Backers say it would have helped reduce federal bureaucracy and increase state revenue. The proposition was co-sponsored by Rep. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, and Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake. Crandell said federal mismanagement of national forests has led to massive wildfires, such as the Wallow Fire, which burned more than 538,000 acres in 2011, and the Rodeo-Chediski Fire, which burned 468,638 acres in 2002. Critics said the proposition was unconstitutional and the state could not afford to maintain the land it already owns. The measure, they said, was largely symbolic. Close to half of Arizona is made up of public land. Several conservation groups came out against the proposition, including Grand Canyon Trust, Maricopa Audubon Society, Arizona League of Conservation Voters and the Sky Island Alliance.

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