Arizona Governor Vetoes Bill for Return of Federal Lands

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Arizona Governor Vetoes Bill for Return of Federal Lands

On Monday, Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona vetoed a bill that required the federal government to turn over
millions of acres of federal land to the state. Arizona lawmakers had been up in arms for quite some time against
federal ownership of the vast areas of land within the state, a move popularly called the “sagebrush revolt.” The
veto of the Governor is seen as a surprise blow to the movement by many.

05/15/12                                                          federal funding for education and because by the
                                                                  original agreements according to which Utah became a
The bill, which had cleared the Arizona legislature last          part of the United States, the federal government has
month, demanded that federal agencies return the                  the power to pay for education by transferring title of
titles to 48,000 square miles of land to state ownership          lands owned by it. Hence, the lawmakers at Utah hold
by 2015. Governor Brewer, known as a Republican                   that reduction in federal funding for education and
stalwart presiding over a Republican-dominated                    accompanying hurt to the society can be remedied if
legislature did not agree with the general opinion                federal government chose to complement and fill the
of lawmakers and said that the legislation failed to              funding deficit by transfer of lands to the state.
“identify an enforceable cause of action to force federal
lands to be transferred to the state.”                            The moves in the states like Utah and Arizona follow
                                                                  years of frustration at the workings of the federal
She expressed herself strongly against the bill and said,         government’s Interior Department’s Bureau of Land
“I am also concerned about the lack of certainty this             Management. Widely held as the sagebrush rebellion
legislation could create for individuals holding existing         and aimed at wresting back state land from the hands
leases on federal lands. Given the difficult economic             of the federal government and subsequent control over
times, I do not believe this is the time to add to that           natural resources, the movement definitely suffered a
uncertainty.”                                                     setback by Brewer’s veto on Monday.

The SB 1332 is similar to a law recently signed in                In one way or the other, the federal government owns
Utah following a Republican drive to reduce federal               at least 42 percent of all the land in Arizona and
ownership of land in the West.                                    there is great indignation among the local populace.
                                                                  Al Melvin, a Republican state senator who sponsored
Even though experts have warned that Utah’s law                   the bill told the media, “It amazes me that she would
would likely result in costly legal battles where                 mention employment when the radical … policies of
ultimately the state would lose, the lawmakers of Utah            the federal agencies have stifled and almost killed the
hold that the state has sufficient rights to reclaim              lumber industry, the mining industry and cattle grazing
ownership of the land. They hold so because of poor               on federal lands.”


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Description: Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has vetoed a bill that required the federal government to turn over millions of acres of federal land to the state.
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