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.

###

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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Watch Senate Floor Proceedings

senate cover

logo_senateVisit the United States Senate website to watch live and archived Senate floor proceedings:

http://www.senate.gov/floor/

Schedule for Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014
9:30 a.m.: Convene and resume consideration of the motion to concur in the House message to accompany H.R.3979, the National Defense Authorization Act.


This legislation is the right thing to do.  Help us and our Nevada Congressional delegation get it passed.

To help support passage of the bill, “Like” our Facebook page and Share this post with your family and friends.

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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.

Image

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:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2014/dec/03/nevada-miners-get-cheeky-urging-congress-pass-land/

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:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2014/dec/09/jobs-and-growth-why-lands-bills-could-mean-plenty

 

Half Beard Challenger #9: “It passed the house twice… time for Senate to catch up!” McDoniel Says

Darin 3

Darin McDoniel, Chief Mine Engineer at Nevada Copper, takes the half-beard challenge! Below is his message to Congress:

DarinBeardChallenge

“It passed the house twice…..time for Senate to catch up!” – Darin McDoniel, Nevada Copper’s Chief Mine Engineer

The half-beard looks ridiculous…..but  so does half-a-bill!!


Nevada Copper recently issued an update on the project, the bill stuck in congress and the half-beard challenge. To read the update, click here.


Read similar post and see past challengers:
Half Beard Challenger #8: “No time left… Get ‘er done NOW!” Arnold Says

Will You Be Next? Take Part in the Half Beard Challenge to Show Congress How Ridiculous Half a Passed Bill Is

TOP TWELVE LIST of Reasons to Pass the Bill… #1

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After weeks of counting down the top twelve reasons to pass the bill, we have finally arrived at the number one reason to pass the Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act, which is now apart of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Top Twelve Reasons to Pass the Bill… #1 – The best reason of all…

top12#1#1 It’s the Right Thing to Do!


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TOP TWELVE LIST of Reasons to Pass the Bill

Yerington Mayor George Dini Comments on the Bill in an Editorial for RGJ: The Way Its Suppose to Work

Mayor Dini testifies on behalf of the Yerington Jobs Bill

Last week, the Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act was added to the National Defence Authorization Act and is set to pass the Senate later this week.

Yerington Mayor George Dini wrote an Editorial for the Reno Gazette Journal stating that “This is the way its suppose to work.”

Click on the link directly below to read the letter.

Editorial – The Way Its Suppose to Work by Mayor Yerington George Dini


 Article Source

Mason Valley RGJ

Image Caption: Mayor Dini testifies on behalf of the Yerington Jobs Bill in Washington back in April of 2013. Watch his testimony here.