Heller and colleague seek to restore lands act | NevadaAppeal.com

Heller and colleague seek to restore lands act

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

Sens. Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, have introduced legislation to reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act.

Before it expired in 2011, they said that act allowed federal agencies to use proceeds from sales of certain federal properties to protect lands designated as having “exceptional conservation value.”

Heller described the program as “providing a fiscally responsible way to protect and manage important public lands in Nevada and the west.”

“Not only will it spur economic growth and development, it will keep conservation at the forefront of the region’s needs,” he said.

Heinrich said the program is a balanced approach to conservation of public lands that has a long history of bipartisan support.

He said from 2000 to 2011, the lands act helped protect important sites across the western U.S.

It allowed agencies including the BLM, Forest Service, fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service to preserve the places that draw visitors from around the world and sustain traditions like hunting and fishing and improve land management practices by disposing of isolated or difficult to manage parcels identified by those agencies.

Heller said the reauthorization is supported by a variety of organizations including the Conservation Fund, Tahoe Rim Trail Association, Carson Valley Trails, and Truckee Meadows Associations. It also has the backing of Washoe County, the Nature Conservancy, Western Governors, National Association of Counties and cattlemen’s association.