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10/12/2012 9:50:00 PM
Prop. 120 would declare state sovereignty over resources
Brandon Quester/Courtesy photoRep. Chester Crandell, R-Heber said sovereignty would put Arizona in charge of its forests, including managing logging and thinning, to prevent catastrophes such as the 2011 Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.
Brandon Quester/Courtesy photo
Rep. Chester Crandell, R-Heber said sovereignty would put Arizona in charge of its forests, including managing logging and thinning, to prevent catastrophes such as the 2011 Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history.
Proposition 120 facts
What it covers: Arizona's air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its boundaries.

What it doesn't cover: Native American reservations, national parks and military installations.

Sponsors: State Reps. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, and Brenda Barton, R-Payson; state Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake.

By SEAN PEICK
Cronkite News Service



PHOENIX - When Rep. Chester Crandell, R-Heber, looks back at wildfires that have devastated Arizona's forests in recent years, he sees a legacy of mismanagement by the federal government.

"We have not been able to get in and log properly and to clean our forests up," he said. "And that's led to catastrophic wildfires."

That's just one example, according to Crandell, of the federal government keeping Arizona from properly managing and benefiting from natural resources within its boundaries.

In response, he and other supporters of Prop. 120 say, Arizona should declare its sovereignty.

"This just simply sets the groundwork and sets the message to the federal government that we are a sovereign state," Crandell said. "And we will take care of things within our state boundaries."

Prop. 120 would amend the Arizona Constitution to say the state "declares its sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its boundaries."

The proposition wouldn't cover Native American reservations, national parks and military installations.

Crandell said sovereignty would put Arizona in charge of its forests, including managing logging and thinning, to prevent catastrophes such as the 2011 Wallow Fire, the largest wildfire in Arizona history. Managing logging also would increase state revenues, he said.

"It would be managed to the point that we would utilize it and it would be sustained, but we would generate income off it," Crandell said.

State Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, a co-sponsor of the legislation referred to the ballot, said Arizona could fight wildfires on its own as well as the federal government does.

"And there'd be many firefighters from around the country who'd be willing to come help," she said.

But since federal authority trumps that of the states, would this be anything more than a political statement to Washington?

"It's very clearly unconstitutional," said Paul Bender, who teaches state and federal constitutional law at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.

"Most people have more sense than to think that you can be part of the United States and not part of the United States depending on whether you like what the federal government's doing or not," he said.

Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon Chapter, scoffed at the idea that a state unable to fund its own parks could take over managing federal land.

"The Legislature has a dismal record when it comes to public lands issues," she said. "Frankly, they cannot be trusted with these federal public lands."

Rep. Tom Chabin, D-Flagstaff, called the notion that local fire departments could effectively fight large wildfires "outlandish."

"The truth is, even all of the state's fire departments could not mobilize, secure air tankers and deliver a thousand firefighters in three days as the federal government has done with the Wallow Fire," he said. "I mean, how in the world could we respond to that, and then secondly, how in the world could we afford it?"

Crandell acknowledged that the state doesn't currently have the money to manage forests and other natural resources on federal land. But he said private businesses could help.

"As you open these up and we are able to have logging contracts, we're able to have other projects to go in and harvest and use the product for a beneficial purpose, then I think you generate the money, that it takes care of itself," he said.


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, October 14, 2012
Article comment by: J L

Remember this folks..the State of AZ? They can't even keep something simple as the rest areas open or clean for that matter. And now they want to take over Forest Land?

Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: To Gostner

The state wont tell you how much water you can pump but the tree huggen left will! Have you ever head off the EPA? That is what prop 120 is to stop! The logging was shut down in the 1990S by the tree huggen left and look what happen. So don't think they can't force you to cap your well if they think it would stop globel warming!

Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: G. Costner

Everyone is concerned with the forests. How about anyone that has a well on their property that they put in/dug/drilled?
"state 'declares its soverign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its boundries.'"
My water rights are between me and the state. So are yours. And I don't intend to have the state tell me how much water I can use.


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Vote Yes On 120 Its For The Children

Come on just think if the state of AZ could sell off all of the forest service land and the grand canyon how much more money there would be for the schools with the increase of porperty tax!

Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Dear Slam

If 120 were to pass, I think you'd soon find your allowable access rights to the forest greatly reduced. There would be a lot more no trespassing, hunting, camping, wood cutting and fishing signs than there are now on the fences to come.

Mining companies, logging companies, and private owners are not going to allow any of those activities on their land.


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Midge Baker

This emphasis on "State's rights" versus "Federal rights" is really a foreshadowing of the Republican/Big Corporatism plan to Balkanize America.

A big country like ours requires a big government to make it one nation. You reduce it's power and cut it up among the states, and the result will be 50 little independent countries incapable of acting together.

Then Big Corporatism will take them over or sell them off one by one, and there won't be an America anymore.

Our "one nation, under God, indivisible" will be lost.

Proposition 204 is just another step in that process.


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Kyle Lowell

Rep. Chester Crandell and his cronies are going to cut down the forests and sell off the land, this has nothing to do with making it easier for you to hunt. AZ can't even keep its state parks open let alone take care of millions of acres, how do you think the state is going to pay for the upkeep? All we are going to end up doing is paying lawyers when the federal government RIGHTLY sues the state.
CJ Crandell enterprises and the J-Y Cattle Company are looking for some cheap land on your dime Arizona residents, are you going to just let them take it?


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Sheesh Deluxe

And when the forests do burn, we will no longer count on federal funds to fight fires, or air tankers and fire crews from out of state. Great plan, nitwits.

Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Independent Voter

The property they are talking about seizing belongs to the 300 million plus citizens of the United States of America. If this passes it will only cost the citizens of Arizona an incredible amount of money to defend in the courts....and of course Arizona will lose. A ballot with no sense to it.

Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Brian Boru

From the article: ....."Prop. 120 would amend the Arizona Constitution to say the state "declares its sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its boundaries."

WOW. That is way too broad-based.

This clown starts out getting us on board with the forest fire talk, and then goes on to regulate and tax everything except sunshine.

It's like a politician declaring himself against crime and in favor of Motherhood and Apple Pie.

Pretty soon, we would be taxed and regulated on everything, including the air we breathe.

And our resources would be sold to the highest bidder.

Or the biggest political contributor.

We already have enough of that.


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: bob grant

This is another ALEC sponsored move to do a land Grab keep their grubby hands off the land.The bunch of robber barons that we have in the state government could not be trusted with tax money earmarked for schools.As for the Anti socialistic drivel from public land is socialism. You need to go travel a bit see how socialism is for real.A total capitalistic world view just allows greedy exploitation to benefit the rich .
Stop the State from getting their mitts on this land.


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Slam The Book Shut

To anybody who cares about camping hunting or wood cutting should vote yes on 120. Just because it will send a message to the feds enough is enough. Did you know under the travel management You can camp no more than 30 foot of what roads they leave open with your RV or camp trailer You will only be aloud to camp where the forest service says you can camp you can't drive off road to get your fire wood or retive your Elk. The tree huggers belive they a the only one that are public land belongs to. And to the rest off you slaming are state why don't you move back to the exstream left coast.

Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

@Pedantic Babble

As a whole: Best intention is corruptible and word selection can frame an author as extreme.

Was there a phrase or wording in particular you wanted explored?


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Un Constitutional

There are some understandably angry comments here. I pay attention to Paul Bender's statements in the story regarding the constitutionality of this proposal. He is this state's leading and most respected constitutional scholar.

It is important to note home areas of the co-sponsors. They came from places where exploitation of the environment and natural resources would take place quite quickly.
There also is political reality. Do we want Gov. Brewer or a possible future Gov. Bennett
and their allies making such environmentally and resource-senstivie decisions? We already see, as is noted, the ridiculous tax subsidies these same public officials give to cattle growers at the expense of ordinary taxpayers.

This is a bad idea whose time should never come.


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: two cents

Privatise public land, close more roads and trails. Keep the public in the towns and cities, they don't need to see anything but the highway and Walmart stores. Let the people with money control the public lands with a little grazing, a little mining, a little logging, and whatever else they want to do with the public land, that we the public have no business being on.

The state and federal government have already allowed and helped facilitate the corporations and wealthy to outsource jobs now they want to keep the public off of public lands for the benefit of a few that only want to over log, over graze and over mine for personal profit. What a great state and country this has become, and all because of greed.


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: j l

Of course these criminals want to steal our land and resources and use it for their private profit. Is anybody really surprised at these robbers. And many of you voted the criminals into office. I am a little surprised at how emboldened they are now. They are just so "in your face" about stealing from us. "Vote us in and we stick it right in your face and steal your stuff right out in the open and you still vote us into office. All we have to do is sow fear of the Other guy and we get all your stuff for free because you are too stupid to not vote for us. Hey, we play you pay sucker!"

Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: What part of Illegal don't you understand?

Unconstitutional = illegal

Simple read of USC:

Fed trumps state.


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: More bait and switch!! !!

Blame it on the feds but screwup the state. The republicans have owned this state for 40 years. They have screwed us with a horrible education system, health care system and the worst good ole boy system in the country. If you do not believe me then why do I have to pay increased property taxes for rich horse owners?

More of the same old thing.


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Les Havalook

What this will accomplish is to place the state's resources at the hands of those well connected to state politicians instead of like it is now in the hands of the well connected federal politicians.

to see how this works notice how state politicians now lease grazing land to well connected ranchers for peanuts compared to its actual value.

Also, notice how ranchers who actually own their grazing land pay tax on it as if it is worth only $7.50 per acre. Once they graze it to sterility they then sell to a developer for $10,000 per acre with no way for the county to recoupe the lost taxes over all those years it was under appraised.

These guys are professional. All they have to do all day long is figure out ways to carve up the pie and dole it out to the campaigne contributors.

I mean can we trust this crew to not privitize our natural resources like they did our prisons???


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: the wino

GREAT JOB!
PROTECT "OUR" STATE AT ALL COST!
if OBAMA get back in office again--a scary thought?
Washington,d.c. will destroy AMERICA as "We the People" remember it--WHY?


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: tired of it all

Hogwash! If anyone knows, the State is trying to take over the Federal lands to mine the Grand Canyon and other natural areas. This, if passed, in my humble opinion, would be just the first step in achieving that goal. They are trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: We're Too Broke

Please don't tell me that if this piece of nutjob legislation passes we're going to spend our scarce money defending it.

We were created from Federal territory. State lands are exactly as large as created by the Feds. This is just as stupid as claiming New Mexico as ours. We didn't cede anything to the Feds, it was the other way around.


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Public Land Is Socialism

Land should not be owned by the public. That is Socialism. It's bad enough we have to pay taxes to run public libraries, public schools, government-run health care, Social Security, and all the other Commie-Pinko schemes of the Liberals. If those were privately owned and run, they would be paying us taxes, not using our tax dollars.

The private sector can do so much for our economy by extracting the value out of that land and resources (who cares which country invests here -if it's paid in greenbacks, its all good). The government just wastes that opportunity and wastes our money. Even legislators will like raking in more tax dollars to spend of their pet projects, although they are sure to rewrite the tax laws to give them a break. It's a win-win.

We must free all the public land in this country from government control. It's all a socialist scheme anyway, a hangover of the Liberal past. Anything controlled by the government takes it out of the marketplace and cannot generate a profit or even taxes, thus it hurts the economy and the country, and that's simply Un-American. Remember the land we liberated from those Indians? We put it to use!


Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: Visualize this.

The inept, yahoos in the AZ Senate and House in Phoenix having control over nearly all of our natural resources & wonders. How big a NO can I type here! An environmental disaster! Not only that it is not constitutional.

Posted: Saturday, October 13, 2012
Article comment by: First Step To Privatization

You can bet your bottom dollar that state control will lead to state sell-off of public lands, and at fire sale prices to all those 'friends' with deep pockets who 'help' our legislators get elected with legalized bribes called campaign contributions.

Say goodbye to relatively free or inexpensive opportunities to hunt, fish, hike, or camp. Private ownership, even if owned by Americans (and not Russian mob or Saudi or Chinese investors), will mean top dollar to provide profits for shareholders and CEOs. I predict a huge and profitable market for FENCES if this passes! Already we are fenced out of public land by private property owners who own adjacent land and prevent access.

People all over the world are getting in on the Great Capitalism Rip-Off. What can't be controlled or taken by wars is taken by laws passed by crooked legislators. Our government in Washington is in the pocket of those who have money to toss around, and state and local reps are not immune to those with deep pockets.

Don't let them steal what We The People rightfully own, and that is OUR Public Lands. You know darned well they are salivating over getting their dirty paws on it. Ka-ching!



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