Friday, April 26, 2013

Sonoran Desert land bill to be filed today

Our sources say that legislation is expected to be introduced in the U.S. House today to set aside about 700,000 acres west of Phoenix in Wilderness, Conservation Area, and Special Management Area designations.   The Sonoran Desert Heritage Conservation proposal is touted as helping preserve military reservations in the region by reducing development pressures around them.

AZGS did a reconnaissance mineral resource assessment of the area and found lands with significant mineral resources would be withdrawn under the original plan precluding mineral exploration and development, including key Strategic and Critical Minerals necessary to the U.S.' economic and national security.

Proponents of the land withdrawals have modified the proposed designations and boundaries to address this issue and we are reviewing the revised maps.   [Right, map of proposed land withdrawals from  Sonoran Heritage]

[update 4-27-13: Rep. Raul Grijalva did introduce the bill on Friday as we expected.  The Arizona Republic reports on the scope of the proposed action but with no mention of mineral resources or other withdrawals from multiple use that are expected to be issues that affect whether other members of the Congressional delegation support the plan.   AZGS Senior Geologist Dr. Jon Spencer described the mineral resources of the region on a recent installment of Arizona Mining Review]

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