Today, in a big moment for Northern Nevada, a historic package of lands bills — six introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei, R-District 2, and one by Rep. Steven Horsford, D-District 4, passed the Senate as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. The bills now move on to the President to be signed into law.
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.
“Yerington, Lyon County and Nevada Copper, Inc. have worked for over five years to develop and implement this proposal. Though it has been characterized as a “land bill”, we all still assert that this is a jobs and economic development bill. It not only expedites development of the Nevada Copper Pumpkin Hollow Mine, but enables the City to collaborate with the company to integrate infrastructure for current and future economic development,” a press release from Lyon County Manager Jeff Page said.
Page said the bill allows, “Yerington to get a share of property and net proceeds of minerals taxes. At the same time the State of Nevada, the County and other County level tax entities, including the Lyon County School District, South Lyon Hospital District and Mason Valley Fire Protection District will continue to receive a share of those taxes.
“Nevada Copper is currently investing approximately $60 on its current shaft construction, $330 million on the current development of the Stage 1 underground mine and mill, and approximately $1 billion on the future, expedited development of the Stage 2 open pit mine.
The City of Yerington along with Nevada Copper will move ahead with planning infrastructure needs and other economic development on the lands outside of the planned mine area.
“I want to congratulate Humboldt County Commission Chairman Jim French, Humboldt County Manager Bill Deist, Yerington Mayor George Dini, Lyon County Manager Jeff Page, Storey County Commissioner Marshall McBride, Storey County Manager Pat Whitten, former Carlin Mayor and present Elko County Commissioner Cliff Eklund, NAS Fallon Commanding Officer CAPT Leif Steinbaugh, NAS Fallon Community Plans & Liaison Officer John Dirickson, former Fernley Mayor LeRoy Goodman, former Fernley City Manager Chris Good, Elko County Commissioners Glen Guttry and Charlie Myers, Assistant Elko County Manager Randy Brown, Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Chairman Davis Gonzales and Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Elko Band Council Chairman Gerald Temoke,” said Amodei. “I want to thank the people of Northern Nevada for their patience and hope they will benefit from these measures. And I want to applaud the Senate for getting that base hit with runners in scoring position.”
“I also want to extend my thanks to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who, just before he left Congress, promised me that he would bring these bills to the House floor for a vote. He was a man of his word and Nevada owes him a debt of gratitude,” said Amodei.
The Nevada lands bills poised to become law are:
H.R. 433, the Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act, would designate approximately 26,000 acres within the Blue Lakes and Alder Creek Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) as the Pine Forest Range Wilderness Area and release approximately 1,000 acres of the existing WSA lands. The bill would also direct the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to exchange federal lands surrounding nearby ranches for private parcels within the existing WSAs to allow for management of public lands and ensure the economic viability of privately owned ranches.
H.R. 696, the Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act, would enable the City of Yerington to partner with Nevada Copper to purchase, at fair market value, and develop approximately 10,000 acres of BLM land surrounding the Pumpkin Hollow project site for industrial, recreational, and infrastructure purposes. The bill would also designate approximately 48,000 acres in Lyon County as the Wovoka Wilderness Area.
H.R. 1167, the Restoring Storey County Act, would transfer the surface rights to approximately 1,745 acres of BLM land in Virginia City to Storey County to resolve conflicting ownership and title claims.
H.R. 1168, the Carlin Economic Self-Determination Act, would convey to the City of Carlin approximately 1,400 acres of BLM land surrounding the city for the purpose of multi-use development.
H.R. 1169, the Naval Air Station Fallon Housing and Safety Development Act, would transfer an approximately 400 acre BLM parcel within the confines of the Fallon Naval Air Station to the Secretary of the Navy. This land would be used for housing Navy families and would provide needed flexibility to grow the base.
H.R. 1170, the Fernley Economic Self-Determination Act, would convey to the City of Fernley approximately 9,114 acres of BLM and Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) lands within the city boundaries for the purpose of multi-use development.
H.R. 2015, the Las Vegas Valley Public Land and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Act, would establish Nevada’s first national monument and convey BLM land suitable for economic development in Clark and Nye Counties, additions to the Great Basin College in Pahrump, College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) campuses, the creation of the Nellis Dunes OHV park and an expansion of Nellis Air Force Base.
H.R. 2455, the Elko Motocross and Tribal Conveyance Act, would convey to Elko County and the Te-moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada approximately 275 acres of BLM land to be used as a motocross, bicycle, off-highway vehicle, or stock car racing area.