U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., is backing bills to sell six parcels of western Nevada land to settle long-standing claims by the Western Shoshone tribe.
The Nevada National Forest Disposal Act would allow sale of six parcels of Forest Service property which Gibbons said are partly surrounded by private property.
"Six of the seven parcels are less than 100 acres," said Gibbons. "All parcels border private land on at least two sides and most are bordered on three or four sides."
He said they are not "pristine forest lands."
"To the contrary, these lands are in the middle of residential areas and can better serve the community by providing economic development opportunities," he said.
If Congress approves the bill, the lands will be auctioned and the revenue put into wildfire prevention, trail maintenance and education.
The Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act, he said, would settle tribal claims by distributing $130 million to the more than 6,000 eligible tribe members. The settlement was determined by the Indian Land Claims Commission to compensate tribes throughout the West for lands taken by "gradual encroachment" during the settlement of the West. Some tribal members have been arguing they should hold out to reclaim much of the land involved. Gibbons said a majority of the Western Shoshone prefer resolving the claim and taking the money.