Gosar and Bernhardt Announce Sale of Nearly 6,000 Acres of Federal Land to La Paz County

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Prescott, AZ, May 22, 2020 | Rory Burke | comments

Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar (AZ-04) and U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the sale of nearly 6,000 acres of federal land to La Paz County, AZ. This sale took place as a result of language from Congressman Gosar’s and Senator Martha McSally’s La Paz County Land Conveyance Act, which was included in the bi-partisan lands package that was passed by Congress and signed into law last year. La Paz County plans to lease this land to a solar energy developer, which will in turn create hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for the county.

Congressman Paul Gosar said: “Today is a great day for La Paz County. Last year, I was thrilled to see my bill, the La Paz County Land Conveyance Act, included in the Lands Package and signed into law. The opportunity for the people of La Paz County created as a result of this land conveyance will bring new economic opportunity, high paying jobs and a brighter future for our state. It is my privilege to represent the people of La Paz County in Congress and I look forward to seeing it continue to grow and prosper.”

Background:

More information from the Department of the Interior can be found HERE.

More information from La Paz County can be found HERE.

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 reflected the bipartisan compromise that was reached when the bill was included in S. 47, the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act.

This bipartisan bill helped facilitate this land transfer from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to the County. Specifically, La Paz County Land Exchange Act of 2019 directed 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 required the County to pay fair-market value for the Land involved in this transfer. The bill also required 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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