Senate votes to strip power to condemn by mining | NevadaAppeal.com

Senate votes to strip power to condemn by mining

The Nevada Senate voted Thursday to strip the power to condemn private property from the mining industry.

Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, D-Reno, introduced Senate Bill 86 saying the power to take private property should be strictly controlled.

She said the power of eminent domain “should only be used for the public good,” not to enhance the profitability of private

companies.

The vote was 20-1 with Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, against the bill. Rhoads has most of Nevada’s largest mines in his Senate district.

Mines were given the power in 1875 when they were Nevada’s pre-eminent industry. Later, the sugar beet growing industry was given the same set of powers. That industry no longer exists in Nevada but SB86 takes away condemnation powers from both.

There was testimony during the committee hearings on the bill from a number of Silver City residents who said they have been served notice Comstock Mining intends to use condemnation to expand an open pit mine in the Silver City/Virginia City area.

Comstock Mining spokesman Doug McQuide denied that.

“We carefully articulated a philosophy of working with the community to achieve common goals and a ‘win-win’ solution to conflicts,” McQuide wrote in a letter responding to the allegations. “Existing mine plans to not predispose such a move and such actions are philosophically at odds with our intention to work with and positively engage the communities in which we intend to commence mining operations.”

SB86 goes to the Assembly.