Arizona Senator Sylvia Allen: Say NO to Designating More Arizona land as New Federal Monuments!

Arizona Senator Sylvia Tenney Allen: Lightning Bolt Update, 10/7/15

Keep Sedona Beautiful has been using the Transfer of Public Lands movement as a reason they are proposing and promoting the Sedona Verde Valley Red Rock National Monument.   This update is to inform you that the perception that transferring public lands to the state would encourage the sell-off of our open spaces to developers is wrong.  Such a perception is not being promoted by those who are involved with this movement.

I have included below a Public Policy Statement ratified by unanimous consent on October 9, 2014, at the American Lands Council multi-state workshop.   American Lands Council has been a leader in the Transfer of Public Lands movement. (Click HERE to download the Public Policy Statement.) 

The policy statement lays out clearly the motives and desires of those who want to fulfill the contract the Federal Government made with the state of Arizona on Statehood Day, February 14, 1912.  Section 4(iv) of the policy statement says:  “Retain Public Ownership of Public Lands: Federal public lands shall become state public lands to be managed in accordance with state and local plans;”

Western states are step-children to the United States of America.  We have never been given full statehood, and we are part of “empire building” instead of being a part of building the country known as The United States of America.  The Transfer of Public Lands movement is not about selling off all the public lands and putting them in the hands of developers.  This movement is about protecting and using our lands with the same kind of local and state control that other eastern and Midwestern states enjoy.  (However I might add that members of KSB live in homes that were developed by someone.)

Ask yourself why North Dakota, which is one of the most rural states in the nation, has a booming economy growing at five times the national average, 2.8% unemployment, a state budget surplus of over $1 billion, and a steady demand for new workers?  The reason is that North Dakota manages 90% of their state!

The terms of statehood in the Enabling Act relating to the disposal of federal title to public lands in Arizona are the same as the terms of statehood for the disposal of federal title to public lands in North Dakota. The Federal government honored its obligation to transfer title of the public lands for local stewardship to North Dakota but not to Arizona.

The Federal government loses 27 cents for every dollar it spends on land management.  The State of Arizona makes $6.00 an acre off of our state lands.  As a state, we cannot fund our schools or build or repair our roads due to the fact that the majority of our land is under Federal management.

Please work to stop the designation of more Arizona land as new federal monuments, thereby adding more regulations and giving up local control.

Public Policy Statement

Ratified by unanimous consent Oct 9, 2014 at ALC Multi-State Workshop Salt Lake City, UT and Oct 20, 2014 by American Lands Council Board of Directors. 

1. WE URGE THE TIMELY AND ORDERLY TRANSFER OF FEDERAL PUBLIC LANDS TO WILLING STATES FOR LOCAL CONTROL THAT WILL PROVIDE BETTER PUBLIC ACCESS, BETTER ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH, AND BETTER ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY;

2. WE SUPPORT EXCLUDING EXISTING NATIONAL PARKS, CONGRESSIONALLY DESIGNATED WILDERNESS AREAS, INDIAN RESERVATIONS, AND MILITARY INSTALLATIONS FROM THE TRANSFER; AND

3. WE SUPPORT EQUIPPING FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL AGENCIES WITH RESOURCES NECESSARY TO PLAN FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRANSITION TO STATE-BASED OWNERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT OF THE TRANSFERRED PUBLIC LANDS; AND

4. WE URGE MANAGEMENT PRIORITIES FOR THESE LANDS THAT WILL:

i. IMPROVE PUBLIC ACCESS: Protect public access, rights of way, and multiple-uses on public lands for all people including sportsmen, tourists, recreational users, subsistence and sustenance activities, and emergency access; and

ii. IMPROVE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: Reduce catastrophic wildfire fuel loads that threaten communities, infrastructure, watersheds, critical wildlife habitat, and our environment. Facilitate restoration of healthy forests, range lands, and waterways; and

iii. IMPROVE ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVITY: Secure jobs and economic growth through responsible natural resource stewardship and use including tourism and recreational opportunities; and

iv. RETAIN PUBLIC OWNERSHIP OF PUBLIC LANDS: Federal public lands shall become state public lands to be managed in accordance with state and local plans; and

v. IMPROVE EFFICIENCY OF WILDFIRE CONTROL: Provide state, local, and tribal government with adequate wildfire prevention and control resources and develop interstate/interagency cooperative agreements necessary to combat wildfires effectively; and

vi. INCREASE LOCAL INVOLVEMENT & ACCOUNTABLITY: Ensure state-based public land management activities are consistent with local government plans, policies, and objectives; and

vii. PROTECT USE RIGHTS: Protect all valid existing rights and multiple uses, and enhance the viability of compatible, land-based livelihoods; and

viii. PRESERVE CUSTOMS & CULTURE: Preserve and protect important wild, scenic, cultural and economic resources; and

ix. INCORPORATE FEDERAL AGENCY EXPERTISE: Seek to utilize federal expertise and research through employment and/or cooperative agreements; and

x. GENERATE SELF-SUPPORTING FINANCE: Foster compatible economic productivity to support essential government services such as local roads, utilities, emergency services, public health and safety, education, justice, and other civic functions while reducing tax burdens on citizens nationally and offsetting federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes and Secure Rural Schools funds.

See Also:

Arizona Education Fact Sheet 

Letter to the Editor:  Feds Stole State Lands of the West 

 Tying Statehood and Education Funding Together