Nevada Copper Press Release – Bill Passes

Pumpkin Hollow





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 ( and the Pumpkin Hollow project website (


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

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
Robert McKnight, P.Eng., MBA
Executive Vice President  & CFO
Phone 604-683-1309

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

View the release in PDF format:

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


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.

The Hill: Reid tees up defense spending bill


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:

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:

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.


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.


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.

Las Vegas Sun: Nevada miners get cheeky in urging Congress to pass land bill

sun half beards 3

The article below comes from The Las Vegas Sun. It was written by Amber Phillips and was published Wednesday, Dec. 3th, 2014.  It may be seen in its original form here.


Greg French, vice president and senior project manager for Nevada Copper, is among a group of Yerington miners and business operators who have shaved half of their beards to draw attention to a lands bill that passed the U.S. House but not the Senate.

What to do when you’re a group of small-town residents trying to get the attention of a very busy Congress in its final weeks of the year?

For miners in Yerington, the answer was to shave half their beards.

About a dozen bearded residents and Nevada Copper employees in the hardscrabble Central Nevada town took a razor to just one side of their faces. The facial fashion statement is a reminder that a bill that would help expand the mine is only halfway through Congress. Nevada Copper started a media campaign — a website, a Facebook page and a YouTube video — to promote their cause.

“The message is half a beard looks kind of silly,” said Timothy Dyhr, a vice president for Nevada Copper, who is among those sporting half of their facial hair. “Half a bill is just as ridiculous as half a beard. It’s not done.”

But there’s a good chance the bill may get done before Congress leaves town for the year.

A lands bill that in part opens federal land to expand the Yerington copper mine passed the House of Representatives in September but still needs to pass the Senate before it becomes law.

On Wednesday, miners got news the Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act will be attached to a must-pass defense spending bill that is expected to pass both the House and the Senate in these next few weeks. In part due to negotiations from Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., seven other lands bills for Nevada are also in the defense bill: A proposal to create a national monument in Tule Springs and a bill to transfer about 400 acres of federal land for housing at the Fallon Naval Air Station, as well as land transfers in Northern Nevada.

“This is a win for Nevada,” said Rep. Steven Horsford, a Democrat representing Yerington and Tule Springs. The Yerington bill is expected to create about 3,000 direct and indirect jobs.

It’s good news for the miners in Yerington, but there’s no room for error: Congress has, at most, three weeks of work days left in 2014. If the Senate doesn’t pass the lands bills by then, lawmakers will have to start over with a new Congress in January.

In almost four years, this is the farthest the Yerington mine bill has ever gotten. Here’s a play-by-play of its struggles in Congress.

But Congress has about two years of work to cram into its last two weeks. Lawmakers have to approve a federal budget before Dec. 11, sign off on a defense spending and debate how to battle Islamic militants and fight Ebola.

Here are a few other items on Congress’ to-do list that affect Nevadans:

• Tax breaks: Nevadans would lose out, at least in the short term, if Congress can’t reach a deal on extending $500 billion of tax breaks for individuals and businesses over a decade. At the very least, the taxes would extend retroactively through 2013. Among them is a federal tax write-off for people, like Nevadans, who pay state sales tax instead of income tax. Another is an exemption for mortgage debt forgiven for homeowners who lose their home in a short sale or foreclosure. The House of Representatives is expected to vote today to extend many of these tax breaks for one year, with the Senate following next week.

• Terrorism risk insurance: Congress also needs to approve a terrorism risk insurance program that expires at the end of this year. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., is leading the push in the Senate to extend the federal program, which serves as a backstop for businesses in the event of a terrorist attack. Heller says the program will provide security for Las Vegas businesses.

With all that, here’s a look at the Yerington miners and businessmen trying to make sure their priority is Congress’ priority, too:

  • T. Dyhr

    Timothy Dyhr

    “It’s been a frustrating four years,” Dyhr, a vice president for the project, told the Sun. ” … But we’re further along than we’ve ever been.”

    • Matt Dusenbury

      Matt Dusenbury

      “It’s a huge benefit to Nevada, but only if we pass a bill,” said Dusenbury, environmental manager at Nevada Copper.

      • J. Murray Scobies

        J. Murray Scobies

        Scobies is the owner of Scobies Grill in Yerington, a family restaurant that closed its doors in late November while waiting for the mine to expand, and Scobie’s customer base along with it.

        • Hank Ohlin

          Hank Ohlin

          “We deserve the ‘full’ deal,” said Nevada Copper’s senior geologist.

          • Esteban "Steve" Chiquete​

            Esteban “Steve” Chiquete

            “Get ‘er done!!” said Chiquete, Nevada Copper’s procurement manager.

            • Greg French, vice president and senior project manager for Nevada Copper, is among a group of Yerington miners and business operators who have shaved half of their beards to draw attention to a lands bill that passed the U.S. House but not the Senate.

              Greg French

              French is a vice president and senior project manager for Nevada Copper and took the challenge.

Article Source:

Las Vegas Sun: Jobs and growth – Why lands bills could mean plenty for Las Vegans

Las Vegas Sun

The article below comes from The Las Vegas Sun. It was written by Amber Phillips and was published today, Dec. 9th, 2014.  It may be seen in its original form here.

Sun logoBy the end of this week, Las Vegans could have something that has alluded them for years: Thousands of acres of federal land to develop commercially.

Eight once-stalled Nevada lands bills look poised to pass Congress as part of a last-minute deal in the lame-duck session.

The bills would open up about 1,200 acres for commercial development in North Las Vegas and Las Vegas and create a new North Las Vegas campus for UNLV. They’ll also create a Tule Springs national monument in the north valley, help expand a copper mine in Yerington and close 26,000 acres up north for wilderness protection.

Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross called it “a game changer.” There could be a new health complex near the Veterans Affairs hospital in North Las Vegas, and Las Vegas could see a new high-tech industrial complex, possibly focusing on drones, between Nellis and Creech Air Force bases.

Plus, creating a national monument has the potential to boost tourism, said Ross, whose ward represents Tule Springs.

“We have North America’s richest fossil bed in our backyard that’s currently being managed by the Bureau of Land Management,” he said. “That doesn’t allow us to fully capitalize on the historic and educational opportunities there.”

The bills passed the House of Representatives last week and should get a vote in the Senate this week. If they pass, they’ll head to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

If that happens, this will be the largest lands package to pass Congress since about 2009. But it’s far from a done deal: Lands bills have been tough to get through Congress recently in part because some conservatives oppose on principle transferring or creating federal land.

Here’s everything you need to know about the deal.

How we got here at the 11th hour

Last week, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., negotiated a deal with other western lawmakers and key Republicans to include the bills into a larger package on a bill that funds our military.

Exchanging land between the federal government and states doesn’t have much to do with defense — although Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., argued the copper created in a Yerington mine is pertinent to national defense. (Parts of the lands bills also expand Fallon Naval Air Station and Nellis Air Force Base.)

But it does help ensure their passage.

Reid, the Senate Democrats’ leader, has had trouble passing lands bills on their own. Conservative Republicans, like Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, object to proposals that expand federal control of land. In the Republican-controlled House, a lands deal popular in Nevada took more than three years and several tries to get through, and its chances in the Senate seemed slim.

“Reid has to find more creative ways to get these bills over the goal line,” said Jim Manley, a former communications director for Reid.

So Reid attached the lands deal to one of the few pieces of legislation that Congress must pass before it goes home for the end of the year. Among other things, the 16,000-page, $585 billion defense spending bill authorizes troops to be paid and housed.

Lawmakers, especially Republicans, wouldn’t dare hold up such an important bill because of a few land swaps out west — so goes Reid’s game theory. It’s high risk, but potentially high reward for Reid.

But hurdles remain

In today’s dysfunctional Congress, bundling of unrelated bills is actually quite normal. Lawmakers (especially those with leverage, like Reid) typically engage in last-minute trading to get their projects attached to higher-priority legislation.

But that process doesn’t sit well with everybody.

Coburn, a fiscal conservative who is retiring at the end of this Congress, said:

“A bill that defines the needs of our nation’s defense is hardly the proper place to trample on private property rights,” Coburn wrote in a letter to next year’s Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Another opponent of the process is Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas. Cruz implied Reid and other senators who put lands provisions in the defense bill, like Republican John McCain of Arizona, basically engaged in earmarks, which are banned in Congress.

“With the military’s shrinking budget, it is offensive that this bill would be used to fund congressional pork,” he said in a statement.

Rep. Mark Amodei, a Northern Nevada Republican who supports the lands bills, counters all these have been discussed in committee hearings. At least one has already passed the House of Representatives.

“It’s like, hey, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody,” Amodei said.

Still, Coburn has vowed to use every procedural move he can to delay the bill — and lawmakers’ Christmas break.

What remains to be seen this week is if Coburn’s Republican colleagues, like Heller, can persuade him and other opponents to stand down.

In the balance hangs years of work on lands bills, and hundreds of potential jobs for Las Vegans.

Conor Shine contributed to this story.

Article Source:


RGJ News: Nevada land bills pass House, headed for final passage


The following news article comes from the Reno Gazette Journal – RGJ. It was written by Bill Theobald. The original post may be seen here or by visiting the RGJ website.

Eight Nevada lands bills, including one that promises to create about 800 high-paying jobs, passed the U.S. House on Thursday.

The Nevada bills were among numerous public lands provisions inserted into the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed by a vote of 300-119. All members of the Nevada House delegation voted for the bill.

The legislation is expected to pass the Senate next week.

“While their inclusion in the NDAA is not my preference, I am pleased the Senate has found time to take up these worthy bills in the second-to-last week of Congress,” said Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City, who sponsored several of the provisions.

The one with the biggest impact, the Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act, would transfer about 10,000 acres owned by the Bureau of Land Management to the city of Yerington to allow for expansion of the Nevada Copper mine at Pumpkin Hollow. An industrial park and recreation areas would also be developed. The copper operation is projected to produce more than 800 construction and mining jobs and 4,400 indirect jobs.

“My top legislative priority has always been to create jobs in Nevada’s 4th District,” said Rep. Steve Horsford, D-Las Vegas, who sponsored the Lyon County legislation. “This is an example of how we can get things done at the federal level to make a difference in the lives of our constituents. It is a good day for Nevada and those who believe we can still do big things for our state.”

Horsford was defeated in the fall election by Republican Cresent Hardy.

Other Nevada provisions in the legislation are:

The Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act would create a 26,000-acre wilderness area in Humboldt County. The legislation directs the BLM to exchange federal land surrounding nearby ranches for private parcels within the wilderness area.

The Restoring Storey County Act would transfer the surface rights to approximately 1,745 acres of BLM land in Virginia City to Storey County to resolve conflicting ownership and title claims in old mining areas.

The Carlin Economic Self-Determination Act would convey to the city of Carlin about 1,400 acres of BLM land surrounding the city for development.

The Naval Air Station Fallon Housing and Safety Development Act would transfer about 400 acres of BLM land within the air station to the Navy to build housing and allow the base to grow.

The Fernley Economic Self-Determination Act would convey to the city of Fernley about 9,114 acres of BLM and Bureau of Reclamation lands within the city for development.

The Las Vegas Valley Public Land and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Act would establish Nevada’s first national monument and convey BLM land for economic development in Clark and Nye Counties, additions to the Great Basin College in Pahrump, College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas campuses, the creation of the Nellis Dunes off highway vehicle park and an expansion of Nellis Air Force Base.

The Elko Motocross and Tribal Conveyance Act would transfer to Elko County and the Te-moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians of Nevada about 275 acres of BLM land to be used as a motocross, bicycle, off-highway vehicle, or stock car racing area.

Contact Bill Theobald at or follow Twitter @BillTheobald

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Press Release: Deal clears way for Tule Springs Fossil Bed National Monument and the Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act


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Press Release: Heller – Nevada land bills near approval in Congress


The following information is a highlight from the Reno Gazette Journal article written by Ray Hagar. Click here to see the original article. Photo from Manuel Balce Ceneta.

Dean Heller RGJ Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act

The Yerington Land Transfer bill — and seven other Nevada lands bills — will be attached to the National Defense Authorization Act and should be approved by both houses of Congress by next week, U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., said in an exclusive interview with the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Heller said he and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., got the eight Nevada land bills attached to the NDAA after convincing colleagues in Congress that the Yerington land transfer would facilitate copper production vital to national defense.

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