Amodei introduces act for the Navy range expansion

Land south of Fairview Peak east of Fallon is part of the Navy’s Fallon Range Training Complex.

Land south of Fairview Peak east of Fallon is part of the Navy’s Fallon Range Training Complex.
Photo by Steve Ranson.

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Nevada Congressman Mark Amodei has reintroduced the Northern Nevada Economic Development, Conservation and Military Modernization Act that would be included in the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Acts for possible consideration later this year.
Amodei previously introduced the Northern Nevada Economic Development, Conservation, and Military Modernization Act in the 116th Congress as H.R. 6889. Congress, though, didn’t take action on any modernization or expansion of the Fallon Range Training Complex in the waning days of the last session except to approve the status quo extension of land already used for training. The current FRTC consist of more than 234,124 acres of land within the training areas Bravo-16, southwest of Fallon; Bravo-17 east near Fairview Peak; Bravo-19, 30 miles south off U.S. Highway 95; Bravo-20, northeast of Fallon; and the Dixie Valley and Shoal Site training areas.
Amodei, who represents Congressional District 2 including the lands affected by any modernization, said this bill seeks to modernize the FRTC by responsibly addressing the gaps between current training capabilities and current and future training requirements. He said the act is paying respect to environmental, tribal and military concerns. According to Amodei’s office, he has spent time talking to the various stakeholders affected by his act and the NDAA.
“This bill addresses the United States Navy’s warfighter training capability so that it continues to rival that of our adversaries, like China and Russia, while also addressing the needs of surrounding counties, Walker River Paiute Tribe, Washoe Tribe, conservation groups, and sportsmen communities,” Amodei said in a statement.
The current Navy request includes a withdrawal of an additional 604,789 acres of additional public land and an acquisition of about 65,160 acres of non-federal land for the range modernization and expansion.
“This requested expansion of the (Fallon) range is essential to accommodate Naval Aviation and Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) training at Naval Air Station Fallon needed to support the National Defense Strategy,” the Trump administration requested in December. “The FRTC is currently too small to accommodate realistic training with precision-guided munitions, and is too small for SEAL ground mobility maneuver training in a tactical and relevant environment.”
Naval Air Station Fallon said Monday the Navy’s requirements for the FTRC modernization have not changed.
“We appreciate Congressman Amodei’s willingness to continue the effort in working with all stakeholders,” said Zip Upham, public affairs officer at NAS Fallon.
Pete Olsen, chairman of the Churchill County Commission, said he is appreciative the congressional leadership allowed Amodei to put the amendment forward.
“It’s good for our side … items important to Churchill County,” Olsen said.
Amodei said the needs from all groups have been expressed in one form or another since the expansion plans were rolled out during the fall of 2016. Since that time, the Navy has also received thousands of comments for and against the expansion. In early April 2020, the Churchill County commissioners pushed for modifications on the Navy’s Record of Decision for the FRTC modernization through the NDAA and other legislation. Upham said Congress must approve an NNDA every year.
“I am proud to continue to pursue a solution that gives our servicemembers expanded and modernized training capacity while also looking out for the best interests of Nevadans,” Amodei added.
Amodei’s bill will provide for the following:
• Expands the FRTC Bravo 16, 17, and 20 ranges by approximately 475,291 acres to be used by the Navy for testing and training for aerial bombing, missile firing, and tactical maneuvering;
• Creates the Dixie Valley Special Management area, approximately 269,572 acres, which will not curtail nor restrict public access;
• Creates nearly 1 million acres of wilderness and conservation areas designations, conservation areas, and prohibitions on oil and gas leasing – one of the most significant conservation elements in Nevada history;
• Addresses and seeks to rectify legitimate tribal claims against previous actions of the U.S. Navy;
• 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.
Olsen said Amodei’s act has something for all the stakeholders.
“Let’s start from our perspective and let’s work back toward a solution rather than the Navy telling us this way or the highway,” Olsen said.
Because of that perspective, Olsen said he thinks Amodei’s act is a positive. Furthermore, Olsen is waiting to see if either of Nevada’s U.S. senators, Catherine Cortez Masto or Jacky Rosen, have any amendments.


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