Senator’s bill transfers thousands of acres from federal government to La Paz County for economic development projects
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema introduced the La Paz County Solar Energy and Job Creation Act – bipartisan legislation directing the Department of the Interior to transfer approximately 4,800 acres of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land to La Paz County to boost economic development, namely solar energy projects.
“I’m laser-focused on delivering real results that solve challenges facing communities across Arizona. After hearing from La Paz County residents, I’m introducing bipartisan legislation that will create good-paying jobs and boost affordable, renewable energy – ensuring a healthy local economy,” said Sinema.
“As Chairman of the Board of Supervisors I want to thank Senator Sinema and Senator Kelly for their continuing support of our groundbreaking solar project. This will be the largest solar project in the nation and will significantly improve La Paz County’s economic future,” said County Board of Supervisors Chair Holly Irwin.
“I want to thank Senators Sinema and Kelly, and Congressman Gosar for their continued support of our partnership with La Paz County,” said Amelia Flores, Chairwoman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes. “CRIT and the County have worked in partnership to bring balanced economic development and cultural protections to this area. Until and unless this bill is enacted, our ancestors’ footprint on this land will remain in jeopardy due to the misguided policies of the BLM.”
Senator Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) cosponsored Sinema’s legislation and Congressman Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House.
The La Paz County Solar Energy and Job Creation Act ensures that the Department of the Interior excludes the conveyance of any federal land that contains significant cultural, environmental, wildlife, or recreational resources.
The bipartisan legislation maintains that, as a condition of the transfer, La Paz County and any subsequent owner must: make good faith efforts to avoid disturbing tribal artifacts; minimize impacts on tribal artifacts if they are disturbed; coordinate with the Colorado River Indian Tribes Tribal Historic Preservation Office to identify artifacts of cultural and historic significance; and allow tribal representatives to rebury unearthed artifacts at, or near, where they were discovered.
In 2020, the La Paz County Board of Supervisors submitted written support of Arizona Sinema’s La Paz County Solar Energy and Job Creation Act – asserting that Sinema’s bill will create jobs and help facilitate a clean energy future for Arizona.