PNS Daily Newscast - May 24, 2019 

President Trump's reported to be ready to sign disaster relief bill without money for border security. Also on the Friday rundown: House bills would give millions a path to citizenship; and remembering California’s second-deadliest disaster.

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Veterans to Congress: Protect Our Public Lands

Nevada's diverse public lands include mountains and deserts, like those seen in Red Rock Canyon. The LWCF helps ensure public access to them. (BLM/Flickr)
Nevada's diverse public lands include mountains and deserts, like those seen in Red Rock Canyon. The LWCF helps ensure public access to them. (BLM/Flickr)
May 25, 2018

CARSON CITY, Nev. – As Americans observe Memorial Day, more than eight thousand veterans from across the nation have signed a letter urging Congress to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a program that helps protect some of the nation's most historic battlefields, monuments and public lands.

Garett Reppenhagen is the son of a Vietnam Veteran, grandson of two World War II veterans, and served in Kosovo and Iraq. He’s also with the Vet Voice Foundation, and says it's important for leaders to support a program that honors the sacrifices made by service members.

"To protect this country, and a program that supports the land of the free,” says Reppenhagen. “It protects our ability to utilize the outdoors and recreate in public lands, and it also helps protect some of these battlefields and historic sites of our military heritage."

The letter includes signatures from dozens of Nevada veterans. It calls on Congress to restore the fund before it's set to expire on September 30th.

Reppenhagen says if lawmakers don't act, the program that has funded iconic sites such as Gettysburg and the 9/11 Memorial would be at risk. He notes the program also supports national parks and forests, and more than 40,000 state and local park projects across the country.

Reppenhagen says the fund also is critical to Nevada because outdoor recreation brings more than $12 billion in consumer spending to the state, and creates more than 85,000 jobs. He adds that projects ranging from restoring baseball fields and city swimming pools, to connecting hunters and anglers to public lands, comes at no cost to taxpayers.

"One of the cool projects that the Land and Water Conservation Fund supported in Nevada is a firing range just outside Las Vegas,” says Reppenhagen. “Which shows the diversity of the use of the funds that states can apply for to be able to build opportunities for outdoor recreation."

The fund was created by Congress in 1964 with bipartisan support to provide funds and matching grants to federal, state and local governments. Its historic focus has been to conserve lands considered irreplaceable, including national parks, forests and wildlife areas.

Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service - NV