Public lands bill passes Congress with bipartisan support

wilderness in Nevada
Goshute Canyon Wilderness. Bureau of Land Management photo.
wilderness in Nevada
Goshute Canyon Wilderness. Bureau of Land Management photo.

A bipartisan public lands bill that preserves 1.3 million acres of wilderness passed the House this week with unanimous support from Nevada representatives. The measure passed the Senate earlier this month, and the president is expected to sign it.

The Natural Resources Management Act permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund. In Nevada the fund has invested $60 million to upgrade the Lake Tahoe Basin, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Valley of Fire State Park, Lake Mead National Recreation Area and the Red Rock National Conservation Area. Another $40 million in state assistance grants from the LWCF have benefitted Sunset Park and the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas.

The bill also expands Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park and Mojave National Preserve, according to a House Natural Resources backgrounder.

In all, the bill includes more than 100 land and water conservation measures nationwide.

“The passage of this bipartisan bill is a big win for our public lands, for Nevada, and for the economy,” In Rep. Susie Lee’s office said in a statement.

The bill is a boon to Nevada’s outdoor industry, which generates $12.6 billion a year for the state economy and provides some 87,000 jobs, according to Outdoor Nevada, a non-profit dedicated to promoting recreation throughout the state.

The lone Republican member of the Nevada delegation, Rep. Mark Amodei, joined his Democratic colleagues in supporting the measure.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.

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