KINGMAN – A bipartisan bill to foster economic development and job creation in rural Arizona has moved forward to a committee hearing, Rep. Paul Gosar said in a statement Wednesday.
It follows a legislative hearing by the House Committee on Natural Resources to convey BLM land to La Paz County for renewable electricity generation to the western United States.
It’s a remarkable opportunity to take advantage of Arizona’s abundant sunshine, Gosar said.
“Solar energy generation in La Paz County will provide clean renewable power for the southwestern United States as well as create high-paying jobs and economic development for this rural corner of Arizona,” the congressman said.
A lot of Washington politicians are unaware of the burdensome federal land issues in the West, Gosar added.
This bill, H.R. 2620, will allow La Paz County to buy 8,000 acres from the Bureau of Land Management at fair market value to use for solar energy development.
After acquiring the land, La Paz County Board of Supervisors intend to create long-term lease contracts with renewable energy project developers. This effort responds 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 percent of the county’s property owned by federal, state or tribal governments.
There are many precedent-setting examples of other Western counties using legislation to seek the conveyance of federal lands to stimulate economic development in rural locations.