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News Release

Office of U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01)

Today, U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) blasted the Arizona State Land Department for allowing Fondomonte, a Saudi Arabian Company, to pump unlimited amounts of groundwater from Butler Valley, a West Phoenix groundwater reserve, without oversight, and not charging the correct market-base rates for the leased land.

“It is unfathomable to me that, during a 1,200-year drought, the Arizona State Land Department is allowing a Saudi Arabian company to grow one of the most water intensive crops year-round on state land, straining aquifers and using the state’s limited groundwater,” said Representative O’Halleran. “This precious water should be utilized for the benefit of Arizonans and not to water a crop that is shipped overseas at below-market rates to benefit a foreign government. Arizonans need answers from the State Land Department and financial losses to the state must be recouped.”

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In his letter, O’Halleran:

  • Encouraged the Arizona State Land Department to act quickly and investigate the lease given to Fondomonte;
  • Requested the AZ State Land Dept to charge the correct market-base rates and demand Fondomonte disclose the amount of water that has been pumped out of the Butler Valley;
  • Inquired as to why Article 10, Section 4 of the state’s constitution was not enforced; and
  • Asked what is being done to remedy the situation, including whether past due rentals will be collected.

View the full letter HERE.

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