Nevada wants to wrest control of public lands from our government (and the BLM). Many of us may think the BLM’s job with wild horse management has been terrible. If the states were allowed to take over control, it would likely be worse – as this article points out (click the Continue Reading link to see that part). Nevada, and other Western states, want the money from land leases and outright selling of public land. They have no programs in place for allowing wild horses to share the space with cattle ranchers and energy interests. Wyoming has been working on similar legislation. Channel 8 in Las Vegas has been keeping track of Nevada’s government and local reaction since the Cliven Bundy case. Once again, the wild horses – innocent of any wrong doing, are caught in the middle of a battle for money. What happened to the American spirit of conservation that we all took pride in many decades ago? ~ HfH
From: Channel 8 News Now
By: George Knapp & Matt Adams
LAS VEGAS — A task force believes Nevada could reap hundreds of millions of dollars annually if it can wrest control of vast chunks of federal land.
Nevada legislators armed with the report from the Nevada Land Management Task Force are expected to ask Congress for more than 7 million acres, and that’s just for starters.
What this potential change could mean for hunters, hikers and others who have had unfettered access to public land remains unknown. But is the report slanted?
Nevada has tried many times before, either through requests, demands or threats, to gain control of more public land from federal agencies that oversee more than 80 percent of the acreage within state boundaries. Other western states have done likewise, but the heat has really been turned up in recent months.
A closer look at the task force report shows that it uses many of the same arguments and specious evidence that have been advanced across the West. While some arguments in favor of the land swap are persuasive, the 8 News NOW I-Team found serious problems with the study.
The task force, which was created by the Nevada Legislature, issued recommendations that represent a blueprint for a public land revolution in the state. As the I-Team recently reported in a project about public lands, Nevada has the highest percentage of federal land in the country and has been griping about it since the 1970s.
Anger bubbled to the surface last spring outside Cliven Bundy’s cattle ranch in Bunkerville. That’s where Bundy and his supporters engaged in an armed standoff with law enforcement authorities over a grazing dispute on land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management.
The task force report argues that federal control has stifled economic development and that the state could do a better job managing public land. One projection is that the state could reap more than $200 million annually if given control of more than 7 million acres identified in the report, much of it along the Interstate 80 corridor in northern Nevada. Other targeted land includes all BLM acreage designated as solar energy zones and all land with geothermal potential.
“I think the people who live and work in this state have a better idea of what resources are available and how they can best be managed,” said Geoff Lawrence, director of research and legislative affairs at the Nevada Policy Research Institute.
The free market think tank has joined the chorus of voices seeking large-scale land transfers to the state, agreeing with the task force that Nevada stands to make more money from such uses as mining, hiking, hunting, movie production and even pine nut picking.
There’s little doubt, though, what the big money maker could be.
“There is conceivably a huge revenue potential for shale rock in eastern Nevada,” Lawrence said. “There are studies that show we have huge potential oil reserves.”