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Nevada congressional delegation working on bipartisan public lands bill

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February 28, 2013


By Zac Humphrey

CARSON CITY, Nevada: Nevada's congressional delegation is reaching across party lines to move a bill that deals with a public land swap. The meeting on February 13th was the first full delegation meeting in several years, according to the Las Vegas Sun. The bill could face some major opposition in the U.S. House due to wilderness provisions that have been added.[1]

The bill would allow for more than 10,000 acres to be used for a copper mine in exchange for creating 48,000 acres of new wilderness land. Opening land up to wilderness is an policy that many Republicans in the U.S. House take issue. Doc Hastings (R), chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, has voiced concerns in the past over the creation of new wilderness because it restricts public assess to the land. Spencer Pederson, a spokesman for the committee said, "It's a very permanent thing to declare wilderness...It's the most restrictive designation you could put on land."[1]

The last time a bill relating to public land issues in Nevada was presented to Congress, it did not contain any wilderness language. According the Mark Amodei (R), this addition could complicate matters. The previous bill made its way out of the House, but it was packaged with other public lands measures and contained some stipulations that caused it not to be taken up in the U.S. Senate.[1]

This bill is being sponsored by Steven Horsford (D), representative of Nevada's 4th congressional district, where much of the land is located. Horsford has explained that he and Amodei were already working with members of the committee to get approval for the measure.[1]

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