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House Republicans Introduce Measures To Protect Sovereignty Of State Lands

February 7, 2024

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona House Republicans are working to protect the sovereignty of state lands.

On Tuesday, the Arizona State House of Representatives Republican Caucus announced that a handful of its members had “introduced measures to push back against Democrat President Joe Biden’s abuse of power and control over lands in Arizona.”

Those measures are as follows:

  • House Concurrent Memorial 2007, sponsored by House Majority Leader Leo Biasiucci. The legislation “urges the President to repeal the recent designation of the Grand Canyon Footprints National Monument in Northern Arizona and oppose any such designation in the state of Arizona in the future.”

Biasiucci said, “If allowed to stand (Biden’s Grand Canyon Footprints National Monument), it will forever close this area to new uranium production and will continue America’s reliance on uranium supplied from foreign nations.”

  • House Concurrent Memorial 2005, sponsored by Representative Austin Smith. The legislation would “push back against President Biden’s ‘30×30’ agenda, which seeks to take 30 percent of all federal lands out of economic production (such as mining, energy, and agriculture) and, thereby, reduce our ability to provide for national food security and energy and mineral independence.”

Smith said, “The federal government is the largest landowner in the United States, controlling almost one-third of the entire land in the country. Over 90 percent of this land is in Western States. Under the equal footing doctrine of the U.S. Constitution, this land should have been given to their respective Western States upon statehood.”

  • House Concurrent Memorial 2008, sponsored by Representative John Gillette. The legislation “calls for the Antiquities Act of 1906 to be repealed or amended to reaffirm that entire landscapes, animate life, such as birds and mammals, and common plants and vegetation are not considered ‘landmarks, structures, or objects’ under federal law.”

Gillette said, “The Act, which was intended to preserve only historic landmarks, structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest, has been repeatedly misused to set aside vast parcels of real property.”

  • House Concurrent Memorial 2006, sponsored by Representative Gail Griffin. The legislation would “call for Congress to enact legislation that requires the express authorization of Congress, the state, and each county affected before any additional federal land grabs may be declared in Arizona.”

Griffin said, “The intrusion and overreach of the federal government, including President Biden’s economically harmful 30×30 initiative, pose the greatest threat to Arizona’s lands, further preventing the state from deciding what is best for its citizens.”

  • House Concurrent Memorial 2004, sponsored by Representative Austin Smith. The legislation would “urge Congress to promptly enact legislation requiring the federal government to give to an affected state or county one acre of federal land for every acre the federal government removes or withdraws from the respective state or county.”

Smith said, “Imposing federal preservation management on Arizona lands obstructs our state’s land management objectives and reduces rural communities’ ability to provide local public services. Arizona has been damaged by the inordinate cost and substantial uncertainty regarding the national government’s infringement on Arizona’s sovereign control of federally controlled lands within its borders.”

The measures from the Arizona lawmakers follow a similar legal fight from Senate President and House Speaker Warren Petersen last fall, when they filed an amicus curiae in the case of Garfield County v. Biden. The case, led by Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, involves President Joe Biden’s “unilateral move in 2021 of declaring more than 3 million acres of land in the southern part of the state now representing two ‘national monuments.’” Arizona’s leaders are supporting the State of Utah’s position that the president’s action here violates the Antiquities Act. After a District Court Judge sided with the White House, Utah appealed the decision, leading to additional briefing.

At the time of his filing, Petersen said, “It is time for the courts to weigh in and stop this federal corruption. Joe Biden’s unlawful maneuvers in both Utah and Arizona promise to wreak havoc on our local economies, the livelihoods of our citizens, and our national security. His end goal is to pander to radical environmentalists by ending mining, ranching and other local uses of federal lands. This has nothing to do with protecting actual artifacts.” 

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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