Arizona Senate passes bill demanding return of federal lands
(Reuters) – Arizona is poised to join next-door neighbor Utah in demanding the U.S. government transfer title to millions of acres of federal property to the state, fanning a renewed “sagebrush revolt” over control of public lands in the West.
The Arizona state Senate, on a 19-9 vote, gave final legislative approval on Wednesday to a measure calling for federal agencies to relinquish roughly 48,000 square miles (124,000 sq km) of acreage they own in the Grand Canyon state by 2015.
The Republican-backed bill was approved by the state House of Representatives on Monday. It now goes to Republican Governor Jan Brewer, who has five days once the bill reaches her desk to sign or veto it. Otherwise, it becomes law automatically.
Arizona would be the second U.S. state to enact such a law after Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill last month seeking to reclaim some 30 million acres (12 million hectares) of federally owned land in his state, shrugging off warnings from state attorneys that the measure was likely unconstitutional and would lead to a protracted yet futile legal battle.