The Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection urges you to VOTE YES on Proposition 119.
This proposition seeks to provide a means to conserve Arizona State Trust lands and create open space buffers around military bases. It includes an amendment to the state constitution to allow land exchanges of State Trust land in order to protect military facilities and properly manage, protect, and use State Trust lands.
Proposition 119 provides an avenue for accountability and transparency to the exchange process, a critical condition to ensure that the citizens of Arizona have a voice in the process. These measures include two independent analyses of lands for exchange, public hearings regarding the exchange, and a statewide vote during general election concerning any proposed exchanges.
When Arizona became a state 100 years ago, the federal government gave Arizona over 10 million acres of land for the benefit of public schools and 13 other state institutions. According the current Arizona constitution, State Trust land must be leased or sold to the highest bidder, leaving few other opportunities for State Trust lands. Most State Trust land is currently under lease (commercial, grazing, agriculture, or mineral), although to date over one million acres have been sold and developed.
Proposition 119 is good first step to modernize the methods for planning and disposition of State Trust lands. For years, conservationists across the state have been searching for meaningful State Trust Land reform, with the goal of protecting a small sub-set of lands that contain important wildlife habitat, riparian resources, wildlife linkages, and recreational and scenic values. This proposition makes a welcomed change to the current method of State Trust land disposal and allows for a continuing discussion regarding how Arizona can best address its land ownership.
We encourage you to VOTE YES on Proposition 119.