REFERENCE TITLE: federal land acquisition; acreage return





State of Arizona

House of Representatives

Fifty-sixth Legislature

Second Regular Session





HCM 2004


Introduced by

Representatives Smith: Biasiucci, Carbone, Chaplik, Diaz, Dunn, Gillette, Grantham, Griffin, Heap, Hendrix, Jones, Livingston, Marshall, Martinez, McGarr, Montenegro, Parker B, Parker J, Payne, Peņa, Pingerelli, Wilmeth









A Concurrent Memorial


urging the United States Congress and president to enact legislation that requires the federal government to provide an acre-for-acre offset when acquiring public land.





To the President and Congress of the United States of America:

Your memorialist respectfully represents:

Whereas, at the time of Arizona's Enabling Act, the course and practice of the United States Congress with all prior states admitted to the Union had been to fully dispose, within a reasonable time, of all lands within the boundaries of such states, except for those Indian lands, or lands otherwise expressly reserved to the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States; and

Whereas, the authority of state and local governments to promote the highest value and use of land is critical to funding education and other essential government services; and

Whereas, under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, federal land policy changed from one of disposal, in which land would enter the state tax rolls, to permanent federal retention as untaxable public land; and

Whereas, nearly 50% of all land in Arizona is already under federal management, and the majority of Arizona's lands are restricted from public access, recreation and economic development; and

Whereas, imposing federal preservation management on Arizona lands obstructs this state's land management objectives and principles; and

Whereas, the United States Congress empowered the Department of the Interior to acquire any interest in lands, water rights or surface rights to lands, inside or outside of existing reservations, to provide land for tribal governments and individual Indians.  Off-reservation lands acquired through these processes potentially raise jurisdictional uncertainties in local communities, complicate land-use planning and provision of services and cause economic consequences for surrounding communities; and

Whereas, Arizona should have had total control over its public lands from 1912, plus a reasonable time for disposition of the lands; and

Whereas, had the national government disposed of the land in or about 1912, Arizona would have generated, from that point forward, substantial tax revenues to the benefit of its public schools and to the common good of the state; and

Whereas, the conservation of wildlife resources is the trust responsibility of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, and this responsibility extends to all lands within Arizona to ensure abundant wildlife resources for current and future generations; and

Whereas, recent federal initiatives attempt to erode property rights, pilfer more public land and redesignate multi-use land as conservation land; and

Whereas, Arizona has been damaged by the inordinate cost and substantial uncertainty regarding the national government's infringement on Arizona's sovereign control of public lands within its borders; and

Whereas, the greatest threat to the lands of Arizona is the intrusion and overreach of the federal government.

Wherefore your memorialist, the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona, the Senate concurring, prays:

1. That the United States Congress immediately pass and the President sign legislation that requires the federal government to give one of the following to the applicable county or the state for every acre of county or state land acquired or federal public domain land expressly reserved or withdrawn by the federal government:

(a) An acre of land of equal or greater size and value, as determined by the applicable county or the state.

(b) In the absence of land of equal or greater size and value, both of the following:

(i) Land of a size and value as proximate as possible to the size and value of the acquired, reserved or withdrawn land, as determined by the applicable county or the state.

(ii) In lieu payments to the applicable county or the state for the value of the difference, as determined by the applicable county or the state.

2. That the Secretary of State of the State of Arizona transmit copies of this Memorial to the President of the United States, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and each Member of Congress from the State of Arizona.