Keep funding land act
May 4, 2017
If you want to preserve your view in Nevada, more often than not you're going to have to pony up some dough to buy it.
For nearly 20 years, that's been one of the key features of the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.
The federal government controls 59.6 million acres of the Silver State, which amounts to roughly 85 percent.
The Bureau of Land Management controls the vast majority of that land with nearly 47 million acres in 2015.
Having all that federal land is a serious constriction in fast growing places like the Las Vegas Valley, where the Great Recession just pumped the brakes for a bit.
But Vegas is back, baby, and last year the Bureau raked in $93 million for the sale of 800 acres of land to fund the act. So far, the Department of Interior has raised $3.4 billion from land sales, which has funded 1,200 projects in the state.
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Projects that include fire prevention efforts at Lake Tahoe and supported recreational efforts across the state, in addition to purchasing conservation easements on ranching property in Douglas County.
This year, the Bureau proposes canceling $230 million in unobligated funds, essentially keeping the money rather than use it for the purpose set forth in the law.
Before that law was passed, Douglas County residents explored a variety of different means to preserve the Valley agricultural heritage.
Under the law, ranchers sell the rights to build homes on their property.
Instead they continue working their land, preserving the green fields Carson Valley residents love.
We support Sen. Dean Heller's efforts to dissuade the BLM from scooping up that money. If Bureau officials feel it's time to wrap up the program, then they should do so after they've expended the money they raised under the auspices of the Act.
However, we would prefer that the BLM continue to fund the Act, occasionally preserving a beautiful green piece of Carson Valley history in the process.