Lawmakers revive debate over transferring federal acres to state jurisdiction
By SEAN WHALEY
REVIEW-JOURNAL CAPITAL BUREAU
CARSON CITY— The decades-long battle over federal ownership of nearly 110,000 square miles of Nevada is about to be reengaged at the Nevada Legislature.
With about 85 percent of those acres under control of a variety of federal agencies — primarily the U.S. Bureau of Land Management — some Nevada political leaders want a transfer of as many as 7 million acres to state control in a first phase that could eventually see large tracts of land become state lands.
Economic development is the primary driver for the introduction of Senate Joint Resolution 7, but some proponents see it as the first step in a state takeover of much of the federal public land in Nevada.
U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., had a land transfer bill introduced in Congress in the last term, and though it died, the issue could come up again in this session. Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval has supported a transfer of some federal lands, as has U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.