WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema released the following statement after Senate approval of a public lands package that includes several Arizona priorities Sinema championed:
“The public lands bill is a win for Arizona. Our success today, after years of working with dedicated local leaders to get these policies across the finish line, will spur job creation in rural Arizona and protect our public lands for future generations of Arizonans.”
The public lands legislation passed by the Senate today includes bipartisan legislation previously led by Sinema affecting La Paz County, Arizona—a county in western Arizona defined by the Colorado River, the vast Arizona desert, and a massive federal footprint. This bipartisan bill helps facilitate a land transfer from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the county. Specifically, it directs the Secretary of the Interior to convey 8,800 acres of Federal Land to La Paz County for the purposes of economic development opportunities and facilitating renewable electricity generation.
The Cottonwood Land Exchange—also previously championed by Sinema—will swap 83 acres of Forest Service land to Yavapai County in exchange for 369 acres of county-owned inholding in Coconino National Forest, and is also included in the bill.
The Black Mountain Range and Bullhead City Land Exchange Act is included in the bill as well. It allows Bullhead City to acquire up to 345 acres of federal land on or near the Colorado River, known as Section 12, currently owned by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, in exchange for 1,100 acres of property in the Black Mountain Range northeast of Bullhead City. Sinema was an original cosponsor of the bipartisan Black Mountain Range and Bullhead City Land Exchange Act of 2018 in the House.
The Land Water Conservation Fund, which Sinema has long led on, is permanently reauthorized through this legislation.
The public lands bill also includes legislation addressing the Udall Park Land Exchange and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Land Conveyance, among others.