The Bureau of Land Management held a briefing and question and answer session Thursday telling Nevadans that plans to expand the Naval Air Station Fallon are on hold. The Navy and BLM are proposing to simply extend the existing land withdrawals NAS Fallon has for another four years while Congress considers the request for a significant increase in withdrawn lands and tightens controls over access by the public and others. BLM Carson City District Manager Ken Collum said public access to the lands, mineral, geothermal and livestock leasing will continue under existing rules during that period. The current withdrawal consists of a total of 770,000 acres in Churchill, Lyon, Mineral and Nye counties, including Dixie Valley. The extension of the existing land withdrawal would continue through August 2026. The application to expand NAS Fallon’s control over Nevada lands has been forwarded by the secretary of the Navy to the secretary of the Interior but has not been reviewed by Congress or acted upon at this point. Collum said the application is now in the 90-day comment period that ends Jan. 10. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro and his staff recently visited NAS Fallon and the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center to talk to key officials and to learn more about the range expansion. Earlier this fall, U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, a Republican representing Nevada’s second congressional district, reintroduced the Northern Nevada Economic Development, Conservation, and Military Modernization Act, The Northern Nevada Economic Development, Conservation, and Military Modernization Act was previously introduced in the 116th Congress as H.R. 6889. This bill seeks to modernize the FRTC by addressing the gaps between current training capabilities and current and future training requirements, while also paying respect to environmental, tribal, and military concerns. Specifically, the bill expands the FRTC Bravo 16, 17, and 20 ranges by approximately 475,291 acres; creates the Dixie Valley Special Management area, approximately 269,572 acres, which will not curtail nor restrict public access and nearly 1 million acres of wilderness and conservation areas designations, conservation areas, and prohibitions on oil and gas leasing; and addresses and seeks to rectify legitimate tribal claims against previous actions of the U.S. Navy. Furthermore, the amendment allows for enhanced economic development for Douglas County, Lander County, Carson City, Pershing County, the City of Fernley, White Pine County, and park and cemetery designations in the City of Sparks; and creates one of the most comprehensive tribal and cultural resource programs operated within the Department of Defense, and transfers land into tribal trust for the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, Walker River Paiute Tribe and Washoe Tribe. Steve Ranson of the Lahontan Valley News assisted with this article.
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