While lawmakers in Carson City wrangle over bills seeking state control of at least some of the federal public lands that constitute 87 percent of the land within Nevada’s borders, Rep. Mark Amodei is moving forward with legislation in Washington.
He already has introduced H.R.1484 — Honor the Nevada Enabling Act of 1864 Act. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources, where its co-sponsor, Rep. Cresent Hardy, sits. Amodei and Hardy represent the bulk of rural Nevada in their respective 2nd and 4th Congressional districts.
The bill opens with these findings:
- (1) The Federal Government controls over 80 percent of all of the land within the State of Nevada, which is a greater percentage than any other State.
- (2) The paucity of State land and privately controlled land in Nevada severely constrains the size and diversity of Nevada’s economy.
- (3) The Federal Government promised all new States, in their statehood enabling Act contracts, that it would dispose of federally controlled public lands within the borders of those States.
- (4) The Federal Government has honored this promise with 38 States.
- (5) The Federal Government has failed to honor this promise with, and continues to control significant percentages of the land within, the States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
- (6) The United States Supreme Court has declared that statehood enabling Act contracts are `solemn compacts’ with enforceable rights and obligations.
- (7) Nevada could generate significant net revenue for the benefit of its lands and people if it were afforded the opportunity to manage an expanded State-controlled land portfolio.
- (8) A transfer of federally administered land to Nevada can be accomplished in phases.
The bill goes on to say the state should be authorized to select no less than 7.2 million acres of public land for conveyance to Nevada in an initial phase.