A package of seven Northern Nevada lands bills cleared the House of Representatives last week, and the two authors say they’re confident the Senate will also approve them.
Six of the measures were authored by Republican Mark Amodei, the other by Democrat Steven Horsford. All were supported by both.
Amodei said the measures were included in the National Defense Authorization Act, a move designed to help the Senate bring the legislation to a vote.
“Although there is some opposition in the Senate to the inclusion of the legislation in the NDAA, I am hopeful the support exists for final passage when the Senate is expected to vote next week,” he said.
The key measure for western Nevada is the Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act, strongly backed by both congressmen. Horsford said that measure, pending in Congress nearly six years, will create more than 3,000 jobs by enabling development of a major copper mine near Yerington.
It allows Yerington and Nevada Copper to purchase and develop 10,000 acres of BLM land around the Pumpkin Hollow mine project as well as designating 48,000 areas as the Wovoka Wilderness Area.
The BLM would transfer about 400 acres inside the Naval Air Station Fallon to the Navy for housing construction to let the base grow, and the final piece in the package would give 275 acres of BLM land to Elko County and the Te-Moak Tribe of Shoshone Indians to be used as a motocross, bicycle and off-road vehicle racing area.
Horsford also touted inclusion of the Tule Springs National National Monument bill he said will protect fossils at that southern Nevada site and spur scientific research in Nevada. It also establishes economic development zones in southern Nevada.
Amodei said the Pine Forest Recreation Act would designate 26,000 acres around the Blue Lakes and Alder Creek Wilderness Study Area as the Pine Forest Range Wilderness near Nevada’s northern border. In exchange, the measure releases 1,000 acres of existing wilderness and directs BLM to exchange federal lands around nearby ranches for private parcels inside the existing wilderness areas.
Storey County would transfer surface rights to 1,745 acres of BLM land in that county to resolve conflicting title claims in another of the measures. Yet another would transfer 1,400 acres to Carlin for multi-use development in that city, which is pretty much surrounded by federal property.