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For Immediate Release, November 2, 2012

Contact: Taylor McKinnon, (928) 310-6713

Analysis: Arizona's Illegal Prop 120 Land Grab Would Claim 27 Million Acres

Ballot Measure Takes Aim at 23 National Parks, Monuments and Recreation Areas, 90 Wilderness Areas, 10 Wildlife Refuges and Six National Forests

PHOENIX— The Center for Biological Diversity today released a new analysis detailing the extent of federal public lands and imperiled wildlife that the state of Arizona would attempt to claim under a state ballot measure, Proposition 120, that voters will decide on Tuesday. The measure would amend Arizona’s constitution such that Arizona “declares its sovereign and exclusive authority and jurisdiction over the air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources within its boundaries.”

Click for larger map
Click for larger map.

“Public lands in Arizona harbor some of America’s most iconic national parks, rivers, forests and wildlife,” said Taylor McKinnon, Wildlands Program Director (formerly Public Lands Program Director) with the Center. “Handing those lands over to Arizona would be a disaster for national treasures like the Grand Canyon and native animals like the Mexican gray wolf.”

Under the measure the state of Arizona would attempt to claim more than 27 million acres of public land, including 23 national parks, monuments and recreation areas spanning 3.3 million acres; 90 wilderness areas spanning 4.5 million acres; 10 national wildlife refuges spanning 1.7 million acres; two wild and scenic rivers spanning over 82 river miles; six national forests spanning 11.8 million acres; and 12.1 million acres of lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management.

Those lands and waters also include habitat for 78 imperiled species, including Mexican spotted owls, jaguars and Mexican gray wolves, protected as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Along with other wildlife, these species’ management would be seized by the state, eviscerating their recovery plans and millions of acres of critical habitat designated to recover them.

Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution — known as the “supremacy clause” — establishes federal law as “the supreme law of the land… anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” Since 2010 Arizona has closed or curtailed services at several state parks owing to budget shortfalls and legislative slashing; two parks remain closed today and several continue curtailed services.

“Proposition 120 is unconstitutional,” said McKinnon. “Its passage would unleash a blitz of litigation that Arizona can neither win nor afford. Legislators would better spend time getting the state’s own parks back up and running.”

Background Statistics
Under Proposition 120, the state of Arizona would attempt to claim sovereign and exclusive jurisdiction across 27,578,000 acres of federal public land, waters and imperiled species.

National Parks, Monuments, Historic Sites and Recreation Areas

Total Acres:  3,290,000
Total Number: 23
National Parks: Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, Coronado National Memorial, Fort Bowie National Historic Site, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, Grand Canyon National Park, Hohokam Pima National Monument, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Navajo National Monument, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Organ Pipe Cactus Wilderness, Petrified Forest National Park, Pipe Spring National Monument, Saguaro National Park, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Tonto National Monument, Tumacacori National Historical Park, Tuzigoot National Monument, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, Walnut Canyon National Monument, Wupatki National Monument. 

Wilderness Areas

Total Acres:  4,528,913     
Total Number:  90
Wilderness Areas: Apache Creek, Aravaipa Canyon, Arrastra Mountain, Aubrey Peak, Baboquivari Peak, Bear Wallow, Beaver Dam Mountains, Big Horn Mountains, Cabeza Prieta, Castle Creek, Cedar Bench, Chiricahua, Chiricahua National Monument, Cottonwood Point, Coyote Mountains, Dos Cabezas Mountains, Eagletail Mountains, East Cactus Plain, Escudilla, Fishhooks, Fossil Springs, Four Peaks, Galiuro, Gibraltar Mountain, Grand Wash Cliffs, Granite Mountain, Harcuvar Mountains, Harquahala Mountains, Hassayampa River Canyon, Havasu, Hells Canyon, Hellsgate, Hummingbird Springs, Imperial Refuge, Juniper Mesa, Kachina Peaks, Kanab Creek, Kendrick Mountain, Kofa, Mazatzal, Miller Peak, Mount Baldy, Mount Logan, Mount Nutt, Mount Tipton, Mount Trumbull, Mount Wilson, Mount Wrightson, Muggins Mountain, Munds Mountain, Needle's Eye, New Water Mountains, North Maricopa Mountains, North Santa Teresa, Paiute, Pajarito, Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs, Peloncillo Mountains, Petrified Forest, Pine Mountain, Pusch Ridge, Rawhide Mountains, Red Rock-Secret Mountain, Redfield Canyon, Rincon Mountain, Saddle Mountain, Saguaro, Salmone, Salt River Canyon, Santa Teresa, Sierra Ancha, Sierra Estrella, Signal Mountain, South Maricopa Mountains, Strawberry Crater, Superstition, Swansea, Sycamore Canyon, Table Top, Tres Alamos, Trigo Mountains, Upper Burro Creek, Wabayuma Peak, Warm Springs, West Clear Creek, Wet Beaver, White Canyon, Woodchute, Woolsey Peak.

National Wildlife Refuges

Total Acres: 1,730,000
Total Number 10
Wildlife Refuges: Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge, Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Cabeza Prieta Wilderness, Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge,
San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge.

Wild and Scenic Rivers

Total River Miles: 82
Rivers: Verde River, Fossil Creek

National Forests

Total Acres: 11,800,000
Total Number: 6
National Forests:  Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Coronado, Kaibab, Prescott, Tonto

Bureau of Land Management Lands

Total Acres: 12,100,000 (1.3 million of which are managed as national monument)

Federally Threatened and Endangered Species

Number of Species: 78
Species: Acuña cactus, American peregrine falcon, Apache trout, Arizona cliff-rose, Arizona hedgehog cactus, Arizona treefrog, bald eagle, beautiful shiner, black-footed ferret, bonytail chub, Brady pincushion cactus, brown pelican, California condor, California least tern, Canelo Hills ladies'-tresses, Chiricahua leopard frog, Cochise pincushion cactus, Colorado pikeminnow, desert pupfish, desert tortoise, Fickeisen plains cactus, Gierisch mallow, Gila chub, Gila topminnow, Gila trout, Mexican gray wolf, headwater chub, Holmgren milk vetch, Huachuca springsnail, Huachuca water-umbel, Hualapai Mexican vole, humpback chub, jaguar, Jones cycladenia, Kanab ambersnail, Kearney's blue-star, Lemmon fleabane, lesser long-nosed bat, Little Colorado spinedace, loach minnow, masked bobwhite (quail), Mexican spotted owl, Mount Graham red squirrel, Navajo sedge, New Mexican ridge-nosed rattlesnake, New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, Nichol's Turk's head cactus, Northern Mexican gartersnake, ocelot, Page springsnail, Peebles Navajo cactus, Pima pineapple cactus, razorback sucker, relict leopard frog, Rosemont talussnail, roundtail chub, San Bernardino springsnail, San Francisco Peaks groundsel, sentry milk vetch, Siler pincushion cactus, Sonora chub, Sonora tiger salamander, Sonoran pronghorn, Sonoyta mud turtle, southwestern willow flycatcher, spikedace, Stephan's riffle beetle, Three Forks springsnail, Tucson shovel-nosed snake, Virgin River chub, Welsh's milkweed, woundfin, Yaqui catfish, Yaqui chub, yellow-billed cuckoo, Yuma clapper rail, Zuni bluehead sucker, Zuni fleabane.

Statistics were generated by a Center for Biological Diversity (Curt Bradley) geographic information systems analysis using federal and other publicly available spatial data.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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