Newspaper column: A tale of a land deal and not one but two wildernesses

Yerington’s past and current congressmen are putting their heads together to try and finally push through Congress a bill that would allow the city to purchase 10,400 acres of federal land adjacent to Nevada Copper’s Pumpkin Hollow mine.

The bill, after years of studies and planning, cleared the House this past summer while Yerington was in Mark Amodei’s 2nd Congressional District, but the town and the southern half of Lyon County have since been redistricted into Steven Horsford’s new 4th Congressional District.

Proposed Wovoka Wilerness area.

Horsford hopes to fast track the bill, which would pave the way for development that could lead to 800 jobs with annual salaries averaging $75,000, as reported in this week’s newspaper column available online at The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press.

One new aspect of the bill is that the Senate version, at Sen. Harry Reid’s insistence, has a provision designating a 48,000-acre wilderness tract in southern Lyon County, called Wovoka by some.

Asked if he had heard of pushback against the wilderness proposal, Horsford said, “Obviously, Nevada Copper has a lot of financing at stake and a lot of risk if the bill isn’t moved quickly … So, no there was no pushback. It was more of a we need to get this done.”

But Amodei is frustrated that the Wovoka designation is on the front burner while a bill on the proposed 26,000-acre Pine Forest Range Wilderness Area in Humboldt County has languished. He wants the Pine Forest Range bill to be on a parallel track to, or even be attached to, the Yerington bill. Read the full column at the Ely or Elko site.

Flowers in a meadow in the Pine Forest Range (Photo by Jim Davis)

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