Public Lands Bill Spells Development For La Paz County, Arizona

Published: Monday, March 11, 2019 - 1:20pm
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Last month, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate and Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives agreed on one thing — a massive public lands bill.

The bill passed both houses and awaits the president's signature. It includes funding for public lands and wildfire prevention and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which takes money from offshore drilling and redirects it to the conservation of parks and wildlife refuges across the country.

Both Arizona senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally, worked on the bill, according to the Arizona Republic, to address public land issues in the state. One place that would benefit is La Paz County. which is about a two-hour drive west of Phoenix on the Interstate 10 route to California.

With the land deal inclusion, it means that the county will now be able to develop about 6,000 acres of federal land.

Here’s the thing: the vast majority of the land in La Paz County is owned by the federal government or other entities. That adds up to about 95 percent, and, according to La Paz County Supervisor D.L. Wilson, that has some serious effects on the area’s potential for economic development.

This deal is a land conveyance, which means the county will purchase the 6,000 acres from the federal government for development.

The Show spoke with Supervisor Wilson more about this and how it all fits into the larger debate about public lands and conservation.

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