House passes bill authorizing sale of federal land in La Paz County
WASHINGTON — A bill that would authorize the sale of federal lands to La Paz County passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday by voice vote.
Sponsored by District 4 U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, the La Paz County Land Conveyance, or H.R. 2630, would allow the Secretary of the Interior to sell 8,800 acres of property from the Bureau of Land Management with the intent to develop large scale, solar generation facilities.
The legislation is a “bottom-up” approach, driven by La Paz County officials interested in balancing economic development against land management concerns.
The La Paz County Board of Supervisors have expressed their intent to create long-term, lease contracts with renewable energy project developers that respond to national demand to increase renewable power generation.
The bill would also help create new sources of revenue to address the economic challenges inherent to a jurisdiction with almost 95 percent of the county’s property owned by federal, state or Tribal governments.
“I am thrilled to see the House pass this bipartisan jobs bill that embraces a true all-of-the-above energy strategy,” Gosar said in a press release.
“This locally-driven solution will allow for future economic prosperity in a county where new opportunities are few and far between due to the abnormally small presence of private land. This legislation is good for the county and allows La Paz to generate new revenues in order to fund important services like education, transportation and law enforcement.”
La Paz County Board of Supervisors Chairman Duce Minor thanked Gosar for sponsoring the bill touted the benefits of the bill. The bipartisan legislation was co-sponsored by Arizona representatives Andy Biggs, Trent Franks and Kyrsten Sinema.
“H.R. 2630 will help implement our vision 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 all our citizens,” Minor said.
Colorado River Indian Tribes Chairman Dennis Patch also lauded the bill’s passing.
“Through this legislation, CRIT and our partners in La Paz County will start to turn the page by ensuring that tribal artifacts found while developing this land are reburied on-site, as called for by our culture. We commend Congressman Gosar for championing this bill and helping forge our partnership with La Paz County. We also want to thank Congresswoman Sinema, and the bills other cosponsors, for putting good policy ahead of politics and supporting this common sense, non-partisan bill,” Patch said.