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Trump now says he misspoke as he stood side-by-side with Putin. Also on the Wednesday rundown: A Senate committee looks at the latest attempt to weaken the Endangered Species Act; and public input is being sought on Great Lakes restoration.

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Nevada Conservation Advocates Press Pres. Candidates on Public Lands

Conservation groups want to preserve Gold Butte, near the Bundy Ranch, as a national monument. (Friends of Gold Butte)
Conservation groups want to preserve Gold Butte, near the Bundy Ranch, as a national monument. (Friends of Gold Butte)
September 8, 2016

LAS VEGAS -- The Nevada Wildlife Federation and associated groups from across the country released a public letter on Thursday seeking a commitment from the presidential candidates to keep federally managed public land in federal hands.

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and Jill Stein have said they support that position. But Libertarian Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, has said he thinks some Bureau of Land Management properties should be turned over to the state - which could then sell them to private companies to extract precious metals, oil and gas.

National Wildlife Federation President Collin O'Mara said he worries that the public could lose access.

"We're asking candidates across America to affirm their commitment to keeping these public lands in public hands for the good of everyone that loves the outdoors, everyone that likes to hunt or fish, or camp or hike or bird and for the nation's wildlife and water supplies and our natural resources,” O’Mara said.

Nevada became known for its strong anti-federal government sentiment after the 2014 standoff at the Bundy Ranch. In 2015, the state Legislature passed a joint resolution asking the feds to transfer public lands to the state, but the Secretary of the Interior declined. However, when citizens submitted public comments online about that resolution, 90 percent were against it.

Robert Gaudet, president of the Nevada Wildlife Federation, said the state has a poor track record when it comes to managing public lands.

"When they became a state, they were given 2.7 million acres,” Gaudet said. "We only have 3,000 acres left. They sold everything else off."

81 percent of the land in Nevada is federally managed. Gaudet said he thinks the state could never afford to fight fires on all that land - even with the $1.5 billion tax increase that passed in 2015.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV