Arizona voters have a big decision to make this November. Really big.
Arizonans will vote next month on a ballot proposal to give the state control over the Grand Canyon – the latest move in the so-called “sagebrush revolt” in which western states are trying to reclaim federal land.
The issue was put on the ballot after the proposal passed the Republican-controlled legislature. It would amend the state constitution to give Arizona sovereignty and jurisdiction over not just the Grand Canyon but all the “air, water, public lands, minerals, wildlife and other natural resources” within its boundaries.
The 227-mile-long canyon is the most iconic landmark under that category, though the bill encompasses millions of federal acres, excluding Indian reservations and military installations.
The decades-long “sagebrush” movement recently got new life when several western states argued the federal government has blocked oil drilling on public land and demanded Washington return millions of acres to state control.