Lands committee to discuss Vegas valley

State and federal officials have scheduled meetings Thursday on land issues in northern and southern Nevada.

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., will hold two hearings Thursday on the Northern Nevada Lands Act.

The first is set for 10 a.m. in the Winnemucca Convention Center. The Reno forum begins at 4:30 p.m. in Lawlor Events Center on the University of Nevada, Reno.

The purpose of the legislation is to allow the sale of thousands of acres of federal land in northern Nevada.

"These hearings will allow the public to come forward and express their opinion on the sales of these public lands, the effect it will have on communities and how the proceeds from these lands sales should be used," said Reid.

"For too long, the bureaucrats in Washington fought to keep valuable Nevada land out of Nevadans' hands," said Gibbons.

Under the Nevada Public Land Management Act, which Reid and Gibbons both sponsored, lands would be auctioned to the highest bidder and half the money would go into a fund to buy environmentally sensitive parcels of land in Nevada.

Most of the cash would go to the local government where the land is located, with about 5 percent directed to state education funding.

Chairman Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, said the law is "a positive step toward eliminating checkerboard land ownership in the Las Vegas Valley."

He said comments from local state and federal entities has been positive as well. The Las Vegas meeting is at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in the Sawyer Building.

The committee will also hear a report about invasive species from the state Agriculture Department and federal Bureau of Land Management. This includes updates on Africanized honey bees and fire ants in southern Nevada and the proliferation of weeds on the land and in waterways throughout the state, including in Lake Tahoe and along the Truckee and Carson rivers.

What: Bureau of Land Management hearing

When: 4:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Lawlor Events Center, University of Nevada, Reno


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