Johnson Submits Testimony on Monument Designation Legislation

Lake Havasu City, AZ – Supervisor Buster Johnson submitted written testimony today to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources in support of S. 437, the Improved National Monument Designation Process Act, and S. 1416, a bill designed to limit the authority to reserve water rights in designating a national monument.  “I want to thank Senator Jeff Flake for introducing S. 1416 and both Senator Flake and John McCain for co-sponsoring S. 437,” Supervisor Buster Johnson stated.  “Both pieces of legislation are crucial for Arizona and Mohave County residents by giving local government input and control when it comes to monument designations,” Johnson continued. S.437 would require input from Congress, state and local governments before a presidentially created monument can be approved.  “With the President proposing to take executive action to designate nearly 1.7 million acres of land in northern Arizona as the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument, this legislation is greatly needed,” Johnson stated during testimony.  “Should the President go ahead with the executive action, it would be devastating for the future growth of Arizona and have a long lasting effect on Mohave County,” Johnson continued. Johnson also advocated for support of S.1416.  “Water is becoming a scarce resource in Arizona.  As it stands right now, if the President were to move forward with this proposed monument, it could have the potential to ‘federalize’ the area’s watershed and uproot critical water rights in Arizona and Mohave County,” Johnson explained.  “This legislation would protect Arizona’s water by prohibiting the president from conducting water grabs by creating a new federally reserved right with a national monument,” Johnson said. Nearly 50% of Arizona is now being owned by the federal government and nearly 90% of Mohave County.  There are currently 18 monuments in Arizona which is more than any other state has.  “Designating land for a new monument will take away even more land in the Arizona Strip area putting it in the hands of the federal government and away from the taxpaying citizens of this state,” Johnson stated. According to Johnson, the 2000 Presidential designation of the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument has not added to the beauty or economy of Arizona.  “The only thing it has done has placed “keep out signs” on the land barring our citizens from making a living or enjoying the land,” Johnson said.  “Protecting our lands can be enhanced with current mining operations and off roaders who want to preserve our lands for future generations to experience.  Working together will protect the land far better than no trespassing signs,” Johnson continued. The Energy and Natural Resource Committee is looking for local input from business and organizations.  If anyone is interested in submitting their input for the record, they can send comments to Supervisor Johnson’s office by emailing his Administrative Assistant, Sarah Hall, at   Those comments will then be forwarded to the committee.  The deadline to submit input is October 6th. To read the text of the bills, S. 1426 can be read here: … Continue Reading →

National Association Names Johnson Vice Chair of Cyber Committee & Adopts Johnson’s Public Lands Sponsored Resolutions

Long Beach, CA. – The National Association of Counties (NACo) held their Annual Conference this month in Long Beach, California.  During the conference, NACo members adopted a new American County Platform, passed resolutions, and announced their 2016/2017 Leadership and Steering Committee Appointments.  Supervisor Buster Johnson was named as one of the Vice-Chairs of NACO’s Information Technology Standing Committee, and also had two resolutions adopted as part of NACo’s national American County Platform along with one resolution on Uranium Mining being accepted.  According to NACo, their County Platform is their permanent policy documents whereas resolutions must be written and adopted every year. NACo’s IT Standing Committee, originally called NACo’s Cyber Security Task Force, was launched in 2012 as a public/private partnership to protect county government networks and residents from online computer crime.  “With today’s advancing technology, it is important that county officials understand the importance of cyber security,” Supervisor Johnson stated.  “Counties are a crucial resource when it comes to public information and information sharing which makes it so important for counties to ensure the taxpayer’s information is secure and safe,” Johnson continued. Supervisor Johnson is also a member of NACo’s Public Lands Steering Committee and sponsored two resolutions dealing with Public Lands.  The first resolution he sponsored was in support of the Historic Routes Preservation Act, which is a bipartisan bill that would provide an administrative means for the federal government to confirm rights-of-way on public lands administered by the Departments of Interior and Agriculture. NACo’s National County Platform has always taken a stance on supporting the maintenance and enhancement of public access to public lands.  Instead of adopting the resolution, NACo included the language for the resolution in their overall County Platform.  “This is a major accomplishment,” Johnson stated.  “Not all resolutions end up apart of the overall County platform.  By adding into the platform, it shows that the overall voice of counties throughout the nation support preserving our historical right of ways,” Johnson continued. Another resolutions sponsored by Supervisor Johnson, which passed unanimously during the Conference, was in support of uranium activities.  In 2012, the Secretary of Interior, withdrew one million acres of the nation’s highest grade uranium ores from mineral entry in Northern Arizona.  According to a report by the American Clean Energy Resource Trust, this was a $29 billion hit to local economies in Mohave County and in Southern Utah.  “This ban took away much needed jobs from our area.  Uranium mining would have brought in nearly 1,078 new jobs to the Arizona strip area with a $40 million annual payroll,” Johnson explained. Included in the NACo platform was also language requiring full coordination with locally affected interests when it came to national monument designations and full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.  “Without full funding for PILT, Arizona counties will be forced to shift federal responsibilities to local tax payers or drastically cut essential services such as education, law enforcement, and road maintenance,” Johnson stated.  During FY15, Mohave County received roughly … Continue Reading →

Supervisor Johnson Testifies at Legislative Hearing on H.R. 2663

Lake Havasu City, AZ –Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson was invited to Washington D.C. this week by the Committee on Natural Resources to testify in support of Congressman Gosar’s Bill H.R. 2663. This legislation, titled the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2015, presents a bipartisan opportunity to expand renewable energy development on public lands, while at the same time maximizing benefits to states and counties. “In large public lands counties of the west, like Mohave County, the costs of providing essential services on public lands can be significant. This legislation establishes a distribution where 25% would be shared with county governments. For counties, revenue sharing is a critical component of this bill,” Supervisor Johnson said during his testimony to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. Johnson testified before the Subcommittee on behalf of himself as Vice Chair of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, the National Association of Counties (NACo), as Chairman of the QuadState Local Government Authority and as Co-Chair of the Arizona/Utah Economic Development Coalition. H.R. 2663 establishes a new revenue structure which would distribute royalties to affected states, affected counties, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the “Renewable Energy Resource Conservation Fund.” “Sharing royalties with counties will help provide local taxpayers with additional relief from the costs associated with tax-exempt federal land and it will provide the much needed resources we need to provide critical infrastructure and services on public lands,” Johnson explained. A recent University study found that if this bill were enacted Mohave County would receive $519,375 in royalty payments from existing renewable energy projects. Supervisor Johnson has chaired numerous State and National committees focusing on renewable energy development over the years and is well aware of the challenges renewable energy developers face when it comes to developing on public lands. “This legislation creates a straightforward and streamlined permitting process for renewal energy development on federal lands. Simply put, there is no reason for the BLM to take several years to permit a project when our county offices can issue permits in weeks,” Johnson said. Mohave County’s climate and landscape offers some of the highest solar and wind energy potential in the nation. “In public lands counties, the single greatest barrier to project development is the protracted federal permitting process which is simply not an issue on private lands. The streamlining provisions included in the bill will lead to faster turnarounds, and will help create good paying jobs, diversify rural economies, and spur economic growth,” Johnson stated. “I would like to thank Congressman Gosar for his leadership and for the introduction of this much needed legislation,” Supervisor Johnson ended. H.R. 2663 currently has 68 bipartisan cosponsors in the House of Representatives including the entire Arizona Congressional Delegation. To read the full text of the bill please click here: