AZ bill requires AG to ask feds to relinquish lands

On Tuesday, the Arizona Senate passed HB2176, sponsored by Rep. Bob Thorpe, which requires the Attorney General to annually request the U.S. to relinquish all constitutionally nonenumerated federal land. The bill passed in a vote of 18 – 11.

The bill permits, “rather than requires, the AG to initiate proceedings beginning January 1, 2022, rather than January 1, 2026, if the constitutionally nonenumerated federal lands are not relinquished, subject to legislative appropriation.”

According to the State Land Department’s 2012 Annual Report, Arizona contains about 72,931,000 acres, making it the sixth largest state in the U.S. Surface land ownership can be classified into four basic categories: Federal Land (42.2%), Indian Trust Land (27.6%), Private Land (17.5%) and State Trust Land (12.7%). The percentages are estimates derived from digitized map data and the Private Land category is overestimated due to the inclusion of small amounts of land owned by local, State and Federal agencies, according to the Legislative overview.

The bill removes the requirement to transfer the lands through sale and to the State Land Trust.

The Arizona Attorney General’s office supports the legislation. The legislation also asserts that the AG has the ability to initiate proceedings in state and federal court.

According to the Legislative overview, public lands are all lands within the exterior boundaries of Arizona except lands: 1) held by any natural person, corporation, company, partnership, firm, association, society or any other entity; 2) owned or held in trust by this state or any political subdivision of this state, including leased school or university land; 3) located within and meets the standards and purposes of congressionally authorized national parks, monuments, national forests and wildlife refuges and such other lands acquired by purchase, exchange, gift or eminent domain consented to by the Legislature; 4) controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Energy or Bureau of Reclamation acquired by consent of the Legislature that meet the standards and purposes for which control was authorized; and 5) held in trust for Indian purposes or Indian reservations (A.R.S. § 37-901). Additionally, statute defines trust land as any land that is owned or held in trust by this state (A.R.S. § 37-311).

According to the State Land Department’s 2012 Annual Report, Arizona contains about 72,931,000 acres, making it the sixth largest state in the U.S. Surface land ownership can be classified into four basic categories: Federal Land (42.2%), Indian Trust Land (27.6%), Private Land (17.5%) and State Trust Land (12.7%). The percentages are estimates derived from digitized map data and the Private Land category is overestimated due to the inclusion of small amounts of land owned by local, State and Federal agencies.

The bill removes the requirement to transfer the lands through sale and to the State Land Trust.

About ADI Staff Reporter 16186 Articles
Under the leadership of Editor-in -Chief Huey Freeman, our team of staff reporters bring accurate,timely, and complete news coverage.