Who Owns The Grand Canyon?, Arizona voters will be asked whether the landmark belongs to all Americans or just state residents. Arizona ballot measure contests ownership of the Grand Canyon, When voters in Arizona go to the polls next month, they will be asked to decide a landownership tug of war: Should the Grand Canyon belong to all Americans, or just the residents of Arizona?
A controversial ballot measure backed by Republicans in the state legislature is seeking sovereign control over millions of acres of federal land in the state, including the Grand Canyon.
Proposition 120 would amend the state’s constitution to declare Arizona’s sovereignty and jurisdiction over the “air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within the state’s boundaries.”
The measure is the latest salvo in the so-called “sagebrush revolt” by Republicans in the West aiming to take back control of major swaths of land owned by various federal agencies, much of it by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management.
State Senator Sylvia Allen, one of the Republican backers of the measure, argues that federal retention of the land hurts the economy of the Western states and leaves them struggling to fund public education, nurture their economies, and manage their forests and natural resources.
“We do not have the ability in rural Arizona to provide jobs for our citizens due to the fact that the federal government controls all the land,” Allen told Reuters. “It leaves us at a great disadvantage. We’re not able to bring in industry and provide for the jobs that we need,” she added.
The exact area of public land targeted by the measure – which excludes American Indian reservations and federal installations such as arsenals – was not immediately clear on the Arizona Secretary of State’s website.
The Sierra Club pegged the area at between 39,000 and 46,700 square miles (101,000 and 121,000 square km) – or 34 percent to 41 percent of the entire state.