Congressman Gosar Introduces Bipartisan La Paz County Land Conveyance Act

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Washington, January 8, 2019 | comments

Congressman Gosar Introduces Bipartisan La Paz County Land Conveyance Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), released the following statement after he introduced H.R. 304, the La Paz County Land Conveyance Act. The bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to convey Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land to La Paz County, Arizona, in order to create economic development opportunities and facilitate renewable electricity generation:

Congressman Paul Gosar said:  “This locally-driven legisation allows the County to take advantage of one of their best assets, sunshine, and pursue utility-scale solar energy production. The County can use this otherwise under-utilized land to generate new revenues in order to fund important services like education, transportation and law enforcement.”

La Paz County Supervisor DL Wilson stated: “We appreciate Congressman Gosar and Senator McSally’s efforts championing this legislation, which provides for the sale of up to 6,000 acres of federal land at fair market value to La Paz County for economic development purposes. Our vision is to attract new industry, especially solar development to this strategic location to diversify our local economy, create quality jobs and increase the tax base so our rural County can adequately meet the growing needs of our citizens.”

Background:

The text of the bill can be found HERE.

The map of this land exchange can be found HERE.

Original cosponsors of Congressman Gosar’s legislation include: Andy Biggs (AZ-05), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Debbie Lesko (AZ-08), David Schweikert (AZ-06), Greg Stanton (AZ-09), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07).

Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

A previous version of this bipartisan initiative unanimously passed the House in the 115th Congress. At that time, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the bill would generate $6 million for the federal government. The updated version reflects the bipartisan compromise that was reached when the bill was included in the end of Congress lands package that failed to materialize.

This bipartisan bill helps facilitate a land transfer from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the County. Specifically, La Paz County Land Exchange Act of 2019 directs the Secretary of the Interior to convey 5,935 acres of Federal Land to La Paz County with the intent of using this land for economic development and renewable electricity generation opportunities. This legislation requires the County to pay fair-market value for the Land involved in this transfer. The bill also requires the County to pay for all costs related to the conveyance, including all surveys, appraisals and other administrative costs.

Because of the immense federal footprint in the County (almost 95% federal, state and tribally-owned, with BLM ownership exceeding 60%), a land transfer is necessary to allow for new opportunities for economic development. The plot of land the County has identified, with the assistance of the BLM, is ideally situated on the edge of the La Paz/Maricopa County line adjacent to existing and proposed fiber optic, electric and natural gas transmission lines. Further, the transferred parcels are conveniently located next to the “Ten West Link,” a 114-mile transmission line that will further interconnect Arizona and California. The La Paz County Board of Supervisors’ intent is to create long-term, lease contracts with renewable energy project developers that respond to national demand to increase renewable power generation while also helping to create new sources of revenue to address the economic challenges inherent to a jurisdiction with almost 95% of the County’s property owned by Federal, State or Tribal governments.

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