Once again, Arizona state legislative members have introduced legislation aimed at keeping land out of the federal government’s hands and ultimately every American that benefits from the great access to public lands we have here in the West.

Rep. Mark Finchem (District 11) and Sen. Sonny Borrelli (District 5) have taken a narrow-minded view of our shared public lands, while at the same time directly infringing on the rights of private landowners.

HB2092 in the House and SB1046 in the Senate both aim to limit who you as a property owner can sell your land to. A sale to either the Forest Service (FS) or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would have to get approval from the state legislature and the governor. In rural areas many times the only prospective buyers are the FS or BLM, and creating a barrier could really limit options for the seller.

There are many examples across our state where a piece of private property has created a roadblock for access into national forests or BLM lands. Often that owner will sell their land to the FS or BLM who in turn will open access, resulting in more public land for outdoor recreation activities.

Federal lands make the state, local businesses and average citizens billions of dollars every year. The outdoor recreation industry generates over $21 billion in consumer spending, employs over 200,000 Arizonans – generating nearly $6 billion in wages, and it still contributes nearly $1.5 billion in state and local taxes.

As Arizonans we can’t let Rep. Finchem and Sen. Borrelli destroy what makes the West so great, expansive public lands for every American to enjoy.

Bob Rees,

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(2) comments

White Mountain Resident

Bob, I wholeheartedly agree with you on this. These state legislators are looking to fix a problem that doesn't exist. The taxes that are eventually collected from federal lands that are exchanged for development near urban areas far exceed any loss of taxes from lands that go into federal ownership out in the hinterlands. The tax rate is so low on agricultural and undeveloped private lands it is ridiculous. There is also the management (or lack of management) of state trust lands they could be investigating. The clowns in Phoenix could actually do something positive for the state's residents.

19JKS49

I believe the intent of the bill is to limit land that is sold to the government in the hope that a 'desperate' owner will sell it to private developers, instead. This, despite the fact that we are running out of water at an alarming rate. The '100-year' rule has been all but forgotten, as greedy developers build new communities, complete with golf courses, swimming pools, etc.

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