Senators: Lyon lands bill not written | NevadaAppeal.com
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Senators: Lyon lands bill not written

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer

Two members of the Nevada congressional delegation said they will listen to all stakeholders in a proposed lands bill designed for Lyon and Mineral counties.

Jon Summers, a spokesman for Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said it was important for people in Lyon and Mineral counties to realize that no bill has been written and the delegation wants to hear from all sides of the lands bill issue before they commit to anything.

“Most people think there is a bill that is written and that all residents will have to live with what’s already written,” he said.

Reid and Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., held a conference call with reporters recently to, “clarify some of the misconceptions that are in the community,” Summers said.

At the Lyon County Commission meeting Thursday, Commissioner Phyllis Hunewill expressed concern that the amount of wilderness area that some environmental groups want set aside in the bill was larger than it had been in the past.

But Summers said that all aspects of the bill were still open to negotiation and that all parties will be heard from.

He said representatives of the delegation, including Reid, Ensign and U.S. Rep. Dean Heller, R-Carson City, were talking to “ranchers, outdoor enthusiasts and local elected leaders on the elements they would like to see in the bill.

“We want to have as much public input as possible and encourage public input from those who are taking part …,” Summers said. “These lands bills, like any kind of legislation, are the art of compromise.”

The 2005 version of a lands bill for Lyon County was rejected by the county commission because of the amount of wilderness area that would be set aside, possibly interfering with grazing rights and other types of agriculture.

Successful lands bills were passed involving Clark, Lincoln and White Pine counties and the senators said they didn’t want people to feel that the bill would be jammed down their throats.

Hunewill has expressed concern that because the bill will include saving Walker Lake, water will be taken from Smith and Mason Valleys to sustain the lake, hurting that area’s agriculture.

More than 450 people showed up for a Walker Basin Project Stakeholder Group meeting in Smith Valley recently.

• Contact Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or by calling 881-7351.