Saturday, March 15, 2014 | 2:01 a.m.
The Las Vegas Valley Public Land and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Act, which is pending in the Senate and the House, is a bill with something for everyone to love. It protects valuable natural resources through the creation of a national monument and expansion of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area while preserving military assets and promoting business by transferring federal lands to local governments for development zones and recreational areas.
Last week, amendments were proposed by House committee leadership that ignore the will of the Nevada stakeholders who worked for years, on a bipartisan basis, to craft the legislation. If passed, the amendments will turn this legislation into a bill with something for everyone to hate.
One amendment would require the proceeds from the sale of public lands be sent to the federal Treasury, rather than staying in Nevada, bypassing a law that has been in place since 1998. This is baffling in light of long-standing Republican support for state sovereignty when it comes to public lands. Another amendment would prohibit management of the proposed monument by the National Park Service until a costly, multiyear viability study is completed, even though the Bureau of Land Management has already spent nearly $8 million to study the area’s resources.
Thankfully, the proposed amendments were delayed when Nevada’s House delegation stood in bipartisan, unanimous opposition.
Reps. Steven Horsford, Joe Heck, Mark Amodei and Dina Titus were joined by former and current Nevada elected officials at every level of government. These leaders deserve kudos for standing up for our best interests and reminding representatives from outside the state that they need to stand back, let Nevadans do what’s right for Nevada and advance the legislation without amendments.