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Amodei Public Lands Bill Passes House, Heads to Senate

January 17, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Congressman Mark Amodei (NV-02) today released the following statement after the House unanimously passed H.R. 1107, the Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act, a bipartisan piece of legislation he reintroduced on February 16, 2017:

“This bill represents a decade of grassroots efforts driven by Pershing County officials, residents, ranchers, miners, and conservationists to resolve the County’s land issues that are hamstringing opportunities for growth. As a result of this exhaustive public process, the reforms included in this legislation will increase economic development while ensuring long-term preservation of the County’s rural character through the disposal of appropriate federal lands. This legislation is a win-win for Nevadans, both in terms of economic prosperity and conservation, and I’m pleased to see it backed by the entire Nevada congressional delegation.

“However, there may be some confusion at the Department of the Interior regarding the merits of this legislation. It would indeed be curious for Secretary Zinke to perhaps oppose a bill that is supported by the entire Nevada delegation, the Friends of Nevada Wilderness, all of the local mining companies, and Pershing County itself. I certainly hope the rumors about the Interior’s opposition to this bill in the Senate are unfounded, because I know I am certainly underwhelmed when someone from Washington ignores a unanimous congressional agreement. Perhaps somebody ought to review the language in the bill that allows the Secretary pretty extensive jurisdiction in identifying checkerboard exchange lands. I look forward to visiting with the President and Vice President to discuss the wisdom of the Secretary’s counsel on these matters if that becomes necessary.”

Background on the Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act (H.R. 1107):

Seventy-five percent of Pershing County is owned by the federal government, with much of this ownership being a checkerboard pattern of lands, hindering the community’s ability to expand opportunities for growth. By resolving areas designated as suitable for transfer, checkerboard lands along I-80, and areas with wilderness characteristics within Pershing County, H.R. 1107 will increase opportunities for economic development. Proceeds from the sale of these federal lands will be shared between the State, Pershing County, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the benefit of the State of Nevada’s general public education, wildfire pre-suppression and restoration, habitat conservation and restoration forthe greater sage-hen, and projects to address drought and other needs.

The bill includes several important measures such as:

  • Disposing and conveying BLM lands in the County for economic and public purposes;
  • Designating certain wilderness areas on BLM land in the County; and
  • Releasing selected wilderness study areas back into multiple-use.

Companion legislation (S.414) has been introduced by U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV).

Click here or on the video below to listen to Congressman Amodei’s full remarks on H.R. 1107.

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