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PNS Daily Newscast - July 23, 2019 


A bipartisan deal reached to avert U.S. government default. Also on our Tuesday rundown: a new report calculates the high hospital costs for employers. Plus, new legislation could help protect Florida's at-risk wildlife.

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President Trump Signs Public-Lands Bill; Budget Fight Begins

Red Rocks Canyon is one of hundreds of places in Nevada that have benefited from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but the new federal budget proposal barely acknowledges the fund. (kconnors/Morguefile)
Red Rocks Canyon is one of hundreds of places in Nevada that have benefited from the Land and
Water Conservation Fund, but the new federal budget proposal barely acknowledges the fund. (kconnors/Morguefile)
March 13, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. – President Donald Trump signed a historic public-lands package on Tuesday.

It was decades in the making, adding 1.3 million acres of new wilderness and creating five new national monuments. The bill also reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has used fees from offshore drilling in federal waters to fund outdoor recreation amenities across the country since the 1960s – like parks, pools, boat ramps and public-lands access.

Jayson O'Neill, deputy director of the Western Values Project, applauds the deal.

"Politicians from both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans, came together and passed this bipartisan lands package, which among other things protects new areas of public land as well as authorizes America's most critical public-lands program, in the Land and Water Conservation Fund," says O'Neill.

However, the Land and Water Conservation Fund depends on Congress to appropriate funds – and never receives even close to the $900 million a year that was originally intended. The new Trump budget doesn't change that.

Over the years, Nevada has received more than $60 million to maintain places like Red Rock Canyon, Lake Mead and the Lake Tahoe basin.

O'Neill says despite the president's signature, his proposed budget shows he isn't serious about protecting public lands.

"While the administration is touting this lands package that Congress passed, you know really, when it comes down to it, you put your money where your mouth is," says O'Neill. “Yet they submitted another budget this fiscal year that nearly zeroes out the Land and Water Conservation Fund."

Just about every state park in Nevada has received LWCF assistance, as well as many local parks, including Sunset Park, Lorenzi Park, and the Springs Preserve.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV