Len Stevens, the Executive Director of the Reno, Sparks, and Northern Nevada Chamber Comments on the Bill

The letter below was written by Len Stevens as a Letter to the Editor. Here, Stevens thanks Nevada Leadership and looks forward to the creation of new jobs via Nevada Copper. To visit the Reno, Sparks and Northern Nevada Chamber Website, click here.


 

Chamber logo (1)It is fitting that as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, today we also celebrate the passage of the Northern Nevada Lands and Conservation Act by both houses of Congress.

This bill not only provides important protections of our beautiful natural resources, but it also provides meaningful economic development opportunities here in Northern Nevada.

This bill will bring thousands of high paying jobs to our region, as Nevada Copper will finally be able to undertake operations in the Yerington area.

We want to thank Senators Reid and Heller and Congressman Amodei for so effectively shepherding this legislation through a contentious Congress, and seeing it finally enacted as the law of the land.

Len Stevens
Executive Director
The Chamber of Reno, Sparks, and Northern Nevada

Nevada Copper Press Release – Bill Passes

Pumpkin Hollow

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NEWS RELEASE

 

NEWS RELEASES

December 15, 2014
U.S. Senate and House of Representatives Pass Land Bill


December 15, 2014   Nevada Copper Corp. (TSX: NCU) (“Nevada Copper” or the “Company”) is extremely pleased to announce passage of the Yerington Land Bill (the “Bill”) by both the United States Senate and House of Representatives.Nevada Copper and the City of Yerington will now complete the acquisition of federal lands from the Bureau of Land Management within six months, as mandated in the Bill. Concurrently, Nevada Copper will move to complete the remaining Stage 2 State permitting by Q2-2015 which will allow for construction of the much larger 70,000 tons per day open pit mine, described below. Passage of the Bill is also expected to have major positive cost benefits for both the fully permitted, 6,500 tons/day Stage 1 underground mine development, currently in construction, and the Stage 2 open pit mine.Land Bill
The U.S. Congressional legislation authorizing the transfer of 10,400 acres of land from the federal government to the City of Yerington (“Yerington”) passed in the United States Senate on December 12, 2014 and the House of Representatives on December 5, 2014. The Bill was included in the National Defense Authorization Act (“NDAA”) as Section 3009, the “Land Conveyance to Yerington, Nevada”. The Bill will now go to President Obama for what is a routine signing before year-end.

The legislation requires that legal acquisition and transfer of the land to the City of Yerington must be completed by the Bureau of Land Management within 180 days of passage. During this period, Nevada Copper would work to complete the remaining two Stage 2 State permits. These are the Stage 2 Reclamation and the Air Quality Permits which will be modified to reflect the private land status. The Company and the City of Yerington have already been collaborating on work needed to meet that 180-day deadline and sets the stage for issuance of all key Stage 2 permits by Q2-2015.

Giulio T. Bonifacio, President and CEO, stated: “We are extremely pleased with the passage of the Bill as it will enable Nevada Copper to advance the much larger Stage 2 open pit project on an accelerated basis. With passage of the Bill our total proven and probable reserves1 of 5.2 billion lbs. of copper; 989,000 ounces of gold and 32.9 million ounces of silver positions Pumpkin Hollow as one of the very few large copper projects in the world that has a clear path to production while also being located in an ideal jurisdiction with existing infrastructure.

With permitting on Stage 2 effectively in hand we will now move forward with the completion of an updated and optimized feasibility study for our Stage 2 open pit operation which will further enhance project economics.”

Timothy M. Dyhr, Vice President, Environment and External Relations, stated: “Pumpkin Hollow has overwhelming support from Yerington, Lyon County and the State of Nevada, and has no environmental issues or land use conflicts. We want to thank the Nevada Congressional delegation, Nevada State officials, Lyon County, Yerington and the local community for their efforts and unwavering support during this time. The Company looks forward to partnering with Yerington to develop the mine and create the economy and jobs so desperately needed in this area.”

Stage 2 Open Pit Feasibility Study Update
As more fully described in the Company’s press release dated November 4, 2014 the Company will be updating its Stage 2 Open Pit Feasibility Study that was published in 2013. The update will include the results from 9,880 meters (32,414 feet) of additional drilling on the North Deposit. In Q2-2014, the Company decided to incorporate these drill results and ascertain if the data would improve the present mine design. In particular, drill hole NC12-34 as previously disclosed in a news release dated September, 13, 2012, on the southwestern edge of the North Deposit ultimate pit intersected 690 feet (210.3 meters), 625.3 feet (190.6 meters) true thickness, grading 1.17% copper, including 150 feet grading 3.80%. Another drill hole, NC13-05, disclosed in a news release dated June 17, 2013, along the western edge of the North deposit and not included in the 2013 Feasibility Study, intersected several zones including 125 feet (38.1 meters), true thickness, grading 1.45% copper.

The new information resulted in an opportunity to significantly improve the grade profile and reduce mine waste rock quantities by re-evaluating the pit shell in the North Deposit. Preliminary work to date on the mineral resource calculations and production schedule has demonstrated extremely positive results with respect to the copper grades and copper production in the early years, as well as overall life-of-mine copper grades. Management believes that the positive initial results support completion of an updated and optimized feasibility study for the Stage 2 open pit operation. The updated feasibility study will incorporate the new and updated technical and cost information on the Stage 2 project.

The results of this updated feasibility study are targeted for release in Q1-2015.

Readers are cautioned that until the updated feasibility study is completed, the implications of the copper grade, production increases and cost updates on the project, including the impact on project economics, cannot be fully determined.

Qualified Persons
The technical information in this release has been reviewed and approved by Gregory French, P.G., Vice-President, Exploration & Project Development, Timothy Arnold, P.E., Vice President Operations, and Robert McKnight, P. Eng., Executive Vice-President and CFO of Nevada Copper, all of whom are Non-independent Qualified Persons within the meaning of NI 43-101.

About Nevada Copper
The Company’s advanced stage Pumpkin Hollow project in Nevada consists of a fully permitted, 6,500 tons/day Stage 1 underground copper mine development, currently in construction, and a nearby Stage 2, 70,000 tons/day open pit mine copper project in the advanced permitting phase. Expected average copper production for the first five years is 75 million lbs./year from the Stage 1 underground mine, and 221 million lbs./year from the Stage 2 open pit mine. Total proven and probable reserves include 5.2 billion lbs. of copper; 989,000 ounces of gold and 32.9 million ounces of silver. The project is located near Yerington, Nevada, close to roads, rail, and power infrastructure, and with all future water supply requirements met.

For further information please visit the Nevada Copper corporate website (www.nevadacopper.com) and the Pumpkin Hollow project website (www.pumpkinhollowcopper.com).

NEVADA COPPER CORP.

Giulio T. Bonifacio, President & CEO

Cautionary Language

This news release includes certain statements and information that may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities laws. All statements in this news release, other than statements of historical facts, are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements and forward-looking information specifically include, but are not limited to, statements concerning: receiving Stage 2 permits in mid-2015, expectations regarding the future results of the feasibility study update,  as well as the Company’s plans in general at the Pumpkin Hollow Project.

Forward-looking statements or information relate to future events and future performance and include statements regarding the expectations and beliefs of management and include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to the estimation of mineral resources and reserves, the realization of mineral resources and mineral reserve estimates, the timing and amount of estimated future production, capital costs, costs of production, capital expenditures, success of mining operations, environmental risks and other mining related matters. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements and forward-looking information can be identified by the use of words such as “plans”, “expects”, “potential”, “is expected”, “anticipated”, “is targeted”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates”, or “believes” or the negatives thereof or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements or information include, but are not limited to, statements or information with respect to known or unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements or information.

Forward-looking statements or information are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual events or results to differ from those reflected in the forward-looking statements or information, including, without limitation, risks and uncertainties relating to: requirements for additional capital; loss of its material properties; interest rates increase; global economy; no history of production; future metals price fluctuations, speculative nature of exploration activities; periodic interruptions to exploration, development and mining activities; environmental hazards and liability; industrial accidents; failure of processing and mining equipment to perform as expected; labor disputes; supply problems; uncertainty of production and cost estimates; the interpretation of drill results and the estimation of mineral resources and reserves; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; possible variations in ore reserves, grade of mineralization or recovery rates may differ from what is indicated and the difference may be material; legal and regulatory proceedings and community actions; accidents, title matters; regulatory restrictions; permitting and licensing; volatility of the market price of Common Shares; insurance; competition; hedging activities; currency fluctuations; loss of key employees; unanticipated political risks in the United States, other risks of the mining industry as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Annual Information Form dated March 25, 2014. Should one or more of these risks and uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in forward-looking statements or information. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update forward-looking statements or information except as required by law, and you are referred to the full discussion of the Company’s business contained in the Company’s reports filed with the securities regulatory authorities in Canada. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be other factors that could cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. For more information on Nevada Copper and the risks and challenges of its business, investors should review Nevada Copper’s annual filings that are available at www.sedar.com.

The Company provides no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

For further information call:
Eugene Toffolo
VP, Investor Relations & Communications
Phone:     604-683-8266
Toll free: 1-877-648-8266
Email: etoffolo@nevadacopper.com
Robert McKnight, P.Eng., MBA
Executive Vice President  & CFO
Phone 604-683-1309
Email: bmcknight@nevadacopper.com

1 The associated mineral reserve tonnages and grades are supported by Technical Reports filed on SEDAR and disclosed on the Company website at www.nevadacopper.com.

View the release in PDF format:

File: http://www.nevadacopper.com/i/pdf/2014-12-15_NR.pdf
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Senate passes bipartisan package of Nevada land bills

LVSlogo

http://m.lvsun.com/news/2014/dec/13/senate-passes-bipartisan-package-nevada-land-bills/

After more than five years of wrangling, the U.S. Senate has passed a bipartisan package of land bills to spur Nevada’s economic development while extending protection to some unspoiled areas.

Friday’s action follows the House’s approval of the measures last week. The legislation, included in a defense spending bill, now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was pleased by passage of a package that was forged after years of hard work by diverse interests. It was the product of collaboration by local officials, tribal leaders, ranchers, miners, conservationists, sportsmen and others.

“Our public lands are part of who we are in Nevada — and the diversity of our lands reflects the diversity of our identities,” he said in a statement. “This legislation respects that diversity and provides for balanced development and job creation throughout Nevada while protecting vital natural and scientific resources.”

One of the measures allows the sale of 10,400 acres of federal land to Yerington to support development of Nevada Copper Corp.’s mine and other business projects while creating the 48,000-acre Wovoka Wilderness.

Another bill sets aside 26,000 acres northwest of Winnemucca as the Pine Forest Range Wilderness while allowing nearby ranchers to secure land exchanges with the government to ensure their economic future.

Other measures will make thousands of acres of federal land available for private development and job creation across the state.

In the north, Elko County will receive 275 acres for a motocross park and the Fallon Naval Air Station will get 400 acres for housing. In addition, Fernley will end up with 9,100 acres and Carlin with 1,400 acres for multi-use development.

In the Las Vegas area, the legislation creates the 22,600-acre Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument and expands the 195,819-acre Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area by 1,530 acres.

Also in the south, measures designate nearly 1,900 acres of federal land for a new University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus in North Las Vegas, some 650 acres to both Las Vegas and North Las Vegas for “job creation zones” and 1,200 acres to Clark County for an off-highway vehicle park.

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., who introduced six of the seven land bills in the House, called the package of bills historic.

“I want to thank the people of Northern Nevada for their patience and hope they will benefit from these measures,” he said in a statement.

Gov. Brian Sandoval said the legislation would have a direct impact on all Nevadans.

“This bill will open the door to economic development, job creation, mining, ranching, and protect some of Nevada’s treasured lands which will preserve our state for its next generation of citizens,” he said.

Lyon County Manager Jeff Page said the legislation would allow Yerington and Nevada Copper to start planning the roads, water, sewer and power to serve both the mine and other business projects. His county was the hardest hit of Nevada’s 17 counties by the recession.

“This is a great day for Yerington, Lyon County, Northern Nevada, and indeed all of Nevada, to add another cornerstone for economic development in this region,” he said.

Nevada could get 3,000 jobs after Congress OKs land bill

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(Photo: AP)

Ray Hagar, RGJ5:53 p.m. PST December 12, 2014

http://www.rgj.com/story/news/politics/2014/12/12/nevada-get-jobs-congress-oks-land-bill/20333365/

Legislation that will allow for the transfer of more than 130,000 acres of federal land in Nevada to state or local control cleared its final hurdle in Congress Friday.

And that could mean jobs — lots of them.

The centerpiece of the deal is the Yerington land transfer, which will transfer 10,400 acres of land near the Nevada Copper mine to the City of Yerington for uses as an industrial area, business park, outdoor amphitheater and room for businesses that will be adjacent to the mine. It will also jump-start Nevada Copper’s open-pit mining phase at the Pumpkin Hollow site near Yerington.

In all, the Yerington land transfer will lead to 1,200 mining and construction jobs at the mine and 1,800 more ancillary jobs, with many of those sprouting up in the Reno-Sparks area, according to studies by Nevada Copper.

The 3,000 jobs expected to be produced by the mining operation is not as large as the 6,500 expected at the Tesla Motors battery gigafactory near Reno. Yet taken together, they promise a major upswing in the economy and population of Northern Nevada.

“These projects in Lyon County and Tesla in Washoe County, taken together are a real major deal,” Yerington Mayor George Dini said. “You are taking about 30,000 plus people moving to this region with that kind of job count. This will be a major program, combining them both together in the same region.”

A long road to passage

The land bills, which were attached to the U.S. Department of Defense’s major spending bill, is the largest single land-transfer in Nevada “in a long time,” according to the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Many of the bills had been languishing in Congress for as long as six years. Attaching them to the National Defense Authorization Act was perhaps the safest and only way to get them through a senate chamber where transfers of federal lands in western states have languished for years, members of Nevada’s federal delegation said.

“If you would have told me the only way to get these passed was to put them in a defense authorization bill, I would have said, ‘Huh?’ ” said U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City. “But after this, hey, it is fine with me.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Nevada’s junior senator, Dean Heller, R-Nev., pushed the lands package as a vehicle for job creation in Nevada.

Good news, but at a cost

Lyon County has been Nevada most economically depressed county in Nevada during the recession. Yerington, the Lyon County seat, has seen its economy and population shrink over the last decade.

Now, the town has the potential to boom again.

“For the last several years, we have been declining in population as well as economic activity in the valley so this is a big step forward for us,” Dini said.

“You have to have a flagship operation like Nevada Copper that brings in all of the rest of the goodies,” said Dini, son of the revered former Assembly Speaker Joe Dini. “That includes property taxes, new homes.

“There will be a snowball effect,” Dini said. “It is not going to happen overnight. There is still a lot of groundwork to be done. A lot of development agreements have to be figured out and finalized. But I’m sure there will be new investors in the (Mason) Valley. In new housing alone, I would expect a couple of hundred houses to go up in the next couple of years.”

The expansion of the Nevada Copper mining operation and the construction of the Tesla gigafactory will put a strain on the region for the upcoming years, Dini said.

“What you are going to find is a Catch 22,” Dini said. “It will be hard to find construction people. Goods and services will be at a premium for awhile. This is not going to happen overnight, though. Neither one of these projects are going to bring in that high number of jobs over night. You have to grow into it. Development of a copper mine takes a lot of time but it takes people to help get it done, so that is the good news.”

Other land transfers in the deal

Yerington is not the only Northern Nevada municipality that will benefit from land transfer deal.

Now, Fernley will be able to purchase about 9,000 acres of federal land within its boundaries. The land will be earmarked for commercial and industrial development.

Elko will receive about 300 acres of federal land for a motocross park and to provide housing for the Elko Band of the Te-Moak Tribe for housing.

Carlin — in Elko County — will receive about 1,000 acres of federal land to be used for economic development.

The Naval Air Station near Fallon will receive 400 acres of federal land for a buffer zone for explosives testing and housing for military at the base.

A long-standing issue in Storey County will be resolved by the transfer of 1,700 acres of federal land to Virginia City, ending a long-standing dispute that has put private-property rights in question.

Also, the bill will establish the Pine Forest Wilderness Area near Winnemucca while directing land exchanges between the Bureau of Land Management and local ranchers. The transfers are expected to improve the economic prospects of those privately owned ranches.

In Southern Nevada, the bill will establish Nevada’s first national monument at the Tule Springs fossil beds, expand Nellis Air Force Base and create the Nellis Off-Highway Vehicles Park.

It will also allow federal land transfers to benefit Great Basin College in Pahrump, the College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Live Update: U.S. Senate Votes 85 to 14 to pass the motion…

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Minutes ago, the U.S. Senate voted 85 to 14 to pass the motion for cloture on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). That means that the debate on actual bill is limited to 1 hour for each Senator and 30 hours total. Therefore, with 14 Senators voting ‘No’, the maximum debate would be 14 hours. It will likely not be 14 hours. A vote to pass the bill is expected tomorrow.

Reid expects passage of 8 Nevada land bills in Senate

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Ray Hagar, RGJ 6:56 p.m. PST December 10, 2014

http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2014/12/10/reid-expects-passage-nevada-land-bills-senate/20225887/

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., predicted Wednesday that eight Nevada lands bills included in the nation’s primary spending bill for the Department of Defense will pass the U.S. Senate by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, Nevada’s junior Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., made a 10-minute speech on the Senate floor Wednesday pushing for the inclusion of the eight bills into the National Defense Authorization Act. Together, the eight land bills would transfer a total of 130,000 acres of federal lands in Nevada to local governments or made into wilderness areas.

Heller emphasized that the land transfers would create jobs across the state.

“This will spur economic development and job creation in our state while enhancing U.S. national security,” Heller told his colleagues.

One of the transfers deals with federal land that surrounds the Nevada Copper mining operation in Yerington. Passage of that bill would jump-start open-pit mining at the Pumpkin Hollow site near Yerington and lead to the growth of 1,200 mining and construction jobs that pay an average of $85,000 — plus about 1,800 ancillary jobs, studies have shown.

Many of the ancillary jobs and those directly connected to the mining operation will be centered in the Reno-Sparks area, Nevada Copper officials said.

“It’s huge for Reno,” Nevada Copper’s Tim Dyhr said. “A large portion of our support, contractors and suppliers are coming out of Reno. But we are also getting materials out of Winnemucca, out of Elko.

“Nevada Cement is another example,” Dyhr said of the regional economic impact of the Nevada Copper open-pit expansion. “Nevada Cement out of Fernley is supplying all of the cement for the project.”

Other Washoe County companies doing business with the mine include Granite Construction of Sparks, Western Nevada Supply of Sparks, Komatsu Equipment (large trucks) of Reno, PDM Steel of Sparks and Northern Nevada Rebar of Reno.

“We use so many vendors out of the Reno area,” Dyhr said. “And a lot of them are the smaller vendors. They are all coming from somewhere in Northern Nevada.”

The land bills, which include projects in Northern and Southern Nevada, will need 60 votes in the Senate to both end debate on the bill and bring the bill to a vote on the Senate floor, Reid said. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives.

“Passage only takes 50 votes (with 100 U.S. Senators) but we’ll need 60 votes on cloture (ending the debate) and 60 votes on a budget point-of-order that they’ll raise,” Reid said.

“We have some procedures to follow but it (passage) could happen as late as Friday or Saturday,” Reid said. “Senate time is never definite, but this is going to happen. We are going to pass that bill, OK? We’ll pass it.”

Heller stressed to Senate colleagues that the importance of copper to national defense, calling it “the second-most used mineral at the Department of Defense.”

He noted that the land package also has a direct impact on Nellis Air Force Base in Clark County and the Naval Air Station in Fallon.

Reid agreed, saying “there is a lot of good stuff in there for the military.”

Yet Reid was highly critical of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., for holding up many of the land transfers for years. Heller noted he has worked on many of the proposals for the six years he’s been a senator and congressman from Nevada.

“Dr. Coburn (he is a medical doctor), who is leaving the Senate at the end of this year, has for 10 years held up hundreds, hundreds of these land bills,” Reid said. “Personally, he’s held them up. So Democrats and Republicans sat down and they have been working for months and they are tired of it (Coburn’s blocking tactics). He’s held up naming of parks and stuff that doesn’t matter. But this stuff is very substantive. It is really important piece of legislation, especially for public-land states.”

Coburn’s representative could not be reached by phone Wednesday evening.

Yerington is not the only Northern Nevada municipality that has a stake in the passage of the Department of Defense funding bill.

Fernley would be able to purchase about 9,000 acres of federal land within its boundaries. The land would be earmarked for commercial and industrial development.

Elko would receive about 300 acres of federal land for a motocross park and to provide housing for the Elko Band of the Te-Moak Tribe for housing.

Carlin — in Elko County — would receive about 1,000 acres of federal land to be used for economic development.

The Naval Air Station near Fallon would receive 400 acres of federal land for a buffer zone for explosives testing and housing for military at the base.

A long-standing issue in Storey County would be resolved by the transfer of 1,700 acres of federal land to Virginia City, ending a long-standing dispute that has put private-property rights in question.

“These properties have been occupied for decades by individuals who purchased them or acquired them legally, yet their continued residency is trespassing, according to the federal government,” Heller said on the Senate floor.

Also, the bill would establish the Pine Forest Wilderness Area near Winnemucca while directing land exchanges between the Bureau of Land Management and local ranchers. The transfers is expected to improve the economic prospects of those privately owned ranches.

In Southern Nevada, the bill would establish Nevada’s first national monument at the Tule Springs fossil beds, expand Nellis Air Force base and create the Nellis Off-Highway Vehicles Park.

It would also allow federal land transfers to benefit Great Basin College in Pahrump, the College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The Hill: Reid tees up defense spending bill

Hill

The following news release comes from The Hill. It was written by Ramsey Cox. It may be seen in it’s original form by clicking here, or by visiting:  TheHill.com.


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) placed the defense spending on the Senate’s docket while it waits for a government funding bill from the House.

On Tuesday night, Reid filed cloture on the motion to concur with the House-passed legislation that authorizes $585 billion of Pentagon programs for 2015, H.R. 3979.

Reid was hoping to advance the measure and set up a vote through a unanimous consent agreement since time is running out before the end of the 113th Congress. But Reid was forced to file cloture because of objections from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).
Coburn complained that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) worked out by House and Senate committee leaders contained “earmarks,” some of which don’t relate to national defense issues.

The package, which passed the House last week on a 300-119 vote, contains provisions funding national parks and wilderness areas.

Both the House and Senate had hoped to adjourn for the year on Thursday, but that looks increasingly unlikely. If Coburn doesn’t agree to expedite the NDAA vote, procedural debate time could drag on until Thursday.

Lawmakers also need to pass a government spending bill by Thursday to avoid a government shutdown.

Article Source:

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/226551-reid-tees-up-defense-spending-bill

Heller Urges Support of Lands Provisions for Nevada

Dean Heller Press Release

Dean Heller TopFor Immediate Release: Contact: Neal A. Patel
December 10, 2014 202-224-6244

Heller Urges Support of Lands Provisions for Nevada

(Washington, DC) – Today, United States Senator Dean Heller spoke on the Senate Floor about his support of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, specifically his support of some public lands provisions. The lands provisions include several Nevada public lands priorities that will grow the Nevada’s economy with mine expansion and development of public land.

REMARKS AS PREPARED:

I rise today to speak in support of some of the public lands provisions that were included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.

Before I do so, I would first like to recognize the work Senators Levin and Inhofe have put into this bill and their dedication to reaching an agreement with the House so that this bill can move forward on time as it has for over 50 years.

As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I hear every day about the sacrifices service members make to protect our country.

Passing the authorization bill that helps ensure they have the equipment they need and the resources required to meet the mission they are tasked with is important.

While I am pleased the Senate will be moving forward on this bill, I would like to note that the bill’s reduction in service members’ benefits concerns me. I believe Members should have had the chance to debate and amend this, and I hope the Senate will have that opportunity in the future.

This year, the final defense bill includes several Nevada public lands priorities that will spur economic development and job creation in our state while enhancing U.S. national security. I have been working on many of these proposals since I was first elected to Congress in 2006.

I want to thank incoming Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowksi for her leadership and work on this public lands package.

We have been working together for years on many of the bills included in the package, and I’m glad to see them get across the finish line.

Let me first clarify that just because some of these bills are related to public lands does not mean that they do not have a direct relationship to defense and protecting our national security. My Nevada Copper bill will increase domestic production of copper, the second most used mineral at the Department of the Defense as well as directly benefitting two bases located in the State of Nevada.

Mr. President, as you may know, roughly 85 percent of the land in Nevada is controlled by the federal government. This presents our local and state governments with many unique challenges. Our communities’ economies are directly tied to the way the federal government manages those lands.

They often work closely with me to develop legislative solutions to their problems. Whereas out east, local government can acquire land on their own to build public works projects; out west we unfortunately have to get Congress’ permission.

That is why reducing the federal estate and increasing access to our public lands has been one of my top priorities in Congress, and this package goes a long way towards accomplishing these goals.

It resolves over sixty of these types of issues throughout the west. In total, over 110,000 acres of land will be removed from federal ownership and utilized for mineral production, timber production, infrastructure projects and other community development. In addition, it releases approximately 26,000 acres of current wilderness study areas, which unlocks lands to be used for multiple-use.

It is important to discuss the eight Nevada provisions today, to show my colleagues here the many hoops our western communities have to go through to take the same steps that many eastern communities can accomplish in a day’s time.

The Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act is a jobs bill that I first introduced while in the House but has been held up by Senate gridlock for years.

This bill allows the City of Yerington to partner with Nevada Copper to develop roughly 12,500 acres of land surrounding the Nevada Copper Pumpkin Hollow project site to be used for mining activities, industrial and renewable energy development, and recreation.

Senate passage is the final hurdle to more than 1,000 new jobs at an average wage of over $85,000 per year. The mine will contribute nearly $25 million in property and net proceeds taxes per year that would be distributed to the State, Lyon County, their Schools, the hospital district, and the Mason Valley Fire Protection District.

In addition, Nevada Copper plans to invest $80 million in infrastructure for the mine and processing facilities that can be utilized to support other land uses and economic development. This bill will transform the local economy of the one of the counties in our nation that is struggling most due to the recent economic downturn.

As I said before, Copper is the second most used mineral at the Department of the Defense, and is considered an essential mineral for weapons production.

Copper is also the primary mineral from which other strategic and critical metals like Rhenium are derived. A domestic supply of this important resource greatly benefits our national security.

Second – there is a provision in this package that will allow Naval Air Station Fallon to acquire over 400 acres of BLM land for a safety arc for an explosive ordinance handling facility and to construct the much needed family housing at the station. Both of these plans will greatly benefit mission operations and the quality of life for our brave service members serving there. The station first asked for these lands over twenty years ago. I am glad their wait will finally end.

Third – the package includes the Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act, a proposal that has been in the works in Humboldt County for nearly a decade. Just north of the Black Rock Desert, the Pine Forest offers a diverse landscape of sagebrush, aspen and rock formations. Scenic lakes and reservoirs offer world-class trout fisheries.

From the ranchers who make their livelihood on grazing allotments to conservationists’ intent on preserving a rugged landscape, anyone familiar with the place agrees it’s special.

In addition to conserving these areas the bill releases areas from wilderness that needs watershed restoration and treatment due to a high wildfire threat. It also provides for the construction of additional campsites and accommodations for motorized camping.

The initial work on the Pine Forest bill was grassroots driven, transparent, and ultimately supported unanimously by all stakeholders and local governments in this county.

Fourth – the package includes the Elko Motocross and Tribal Conveyance Act, another bill I first introduced in the 111th Congress as a member of the House. This common-sense bill conveys 275 acres of BLM lands to Elko County for a public motocross park. Additionally, it provides 373 acres to the Elko Band of the Te-Moak Tribe for housing and tribal economic development.

Outdoor recreation and tourism are such important parts of life in Nevada. Opening up this land will benefit the residents of Northern Nevada for years to come.

Fifth – this lands package includes the Las Vegas Valley Public Land and Tule Spring Fossil Beds National Monument Act, which is the culmination of several years of effort to conserve the ancient Tule Springs Fossil Beds while providing job creation opportunities and critical civilian and military infrastructure that will be necessary to meet the needs of the Las Vegas Valley.
After working with stakeholders at every level, I am pleased that we can navigate a path forward for southern Nevada.

While serving in the House, I also introduced legislation in both the 110th and 111th Congresses to convey parcels of BLM land to the Nellis Air Force Base, to create an off-highway vehicle park in the Nellis Dunes, and to convey land to the Nevada System of Higher Education to expand educational opportunities for Southern Nevadans.

Those smaller bills were ultimately included in S.973 this Congress, so I am pleased that over six years of work on this Tule Springs legislation will finally become a reality.

The final three Nevada bills included in the lands package are newer proposals, but achieve long-term economic development objectives that the affected communities have long-pursued.
The Fernley Economic Self-Determination Act provides Fernley the opportunity to purchase up to 9,114 acres of federal land within the city boundaries for the purpose of economic development.

Fernley was incorporated in 2001. Since incorporation, the City has been working with private business partners and state and federal regional agencies to develop a long-term economic development plan. These parcels have significant potential for commercial and industrial development, agriculture activities, and the expansion of community events.

Similarly, the Carlin Economic Self-Determination Act allows Carlin to purchase up to 1,329 acres of BLM lands. This city, located in Elko County, is completely landlocked by federal land. Without this legislation, it would be impossible for their leaders to meet the demand for expansion their growing population needs.

Finally, the Storey County provision conveys over 1,700 acres of BLM lands to Virginia City. These properties have been occupied for decades by individuals who purchased them or acquired them legally, yet their continued residency is trespass according to the federal government.

It is a very burdensome oversight by the federal government that must be resolved for the sake of my constituents. They have struggled for years haunted by this error that is the result of no fault of their own.

As you can see, these small public lands proposals are going to make a MAJOR impact on Nevada’s economy. They have all been developed at the local level and signed off on by the local communities

I understand my colleagues concerns that would have liked the opportunity to debate and vote on more amendments to this bill. I too, had filed a number of amendments that I would have liked to see considered and will continue pushing those priorities next year.
Right now, Congress has the rare opportunity to pass this public lands package that enables important mining, energy development, ranching, and timber work to go forward generating economic and employment opportunities for my and other states and local residents. Let’s get the government off these Nevadans’ backs and allow them to do what they do best – creating jobs.

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The eight Nevada public lands priorities included in the package are:

1) Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act – allows the City of Yerington to work with Nevada Copper to expand its mining operation and create over 1000+ jobs while also providing the City with new infrastructure, job creation, and recreational opportunities.

2) Elko Motocross and Tribal Conveyance Act – conveys nearly 300 acres of BLM land to Elko County for a public motocross park while providing land to the Elko Band of the Te-Moak Tribe for housing and community development.

3) Fernley Economic Self-Determination Act – provides the City of Fernley over 9,000 acres of federal land within its boundaries suitable for l commercial and industrial development, agriculture, and the expansion of community and cultural events

4) Las Vegas Valley Public Land and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Act – establishes Nevada’s first national monument while conveys BLM land suitable for economic development in Clark and Nye Counties for county and city growth and commercial development, additions to the Great Basin College in Pahrump, College of Southern Nevada, and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) campuses, establishment the Nellis Dunes OHV park, and an expansion of Nellis Air Force Base.

5) Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act – establishes the Pine Forest Range Wilderness Area while directing land exchanges between the BLM and local ranchers to ensure the economic viability of privately owned ranches

6) Carlin Economic Self-Determination Act – provides the City of Carlin over 1,000 acres of federal land surrounding the City to be used for economic development.

7) Naval Air Station Fallon Housing and Safety Development Act – conveys nearly 400 acres of BLM land to the NAS Fallon for housing and continued use by the base.

8) Storey County Lands Fix – resolves a long-standing mining townsite issue that have put private property rights in question.

Top TWELVE Reasons to Pass the Bill

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After weeks of counting down the top twelve reasons to pass the bill we have finally delivered all twelve.

In case you missed a few or would like a summary of all the reasons, they are listed below.

We are hopeful that the Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act, which is now apart of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will be passed before the end of this Congressional session.

Top Twelve Reasons to Pass 

It’s the Right Thing to Do! This bipartisan bill is right for Nevada.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs – 2,500-3,000 Permanent Jobs! 1,000 permanent mining jobs, 1,500 indirect and induced jobs.

Construction Jobs! 500-1,000 construction jobs over a 2-3 year period.

It’s Unanimous! – Overwhelming bi-partisan support from federal, state and local government.

Create Job Opportunities! Provide job opportunities for our young people with educational initiatives that will train them and provide opportunities for high paying jobs.

Foster Small Business! Save existing small businesses from closing, create future small business opportunities and prevent future closings.

Build a Sustainable Tax Base! Generate $15-20 million annual revenues for Lyon County, Nevada.

Jumpstart! Economic development and provide an immediate economic boost for a struggling community.

Diversify! The Lyon County / Yerington economy for the long term.

Conserve! Implement conservation measures with protections for local existing livestock operations, recreationalists and other land users.

Unlock Lands for Communities!  Provide land for community development and resolve long standing land issues for seven Nevada counties.

Lead! Establish a positive precedent and model for future, balanced, public lands transfers that benefit communities in western public land states.


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