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Nevada Lawmakers Co-Sponsor Bill to Permanently Fund Public Lands Projects

Red Rock Canyon is one of many sites that has benefitted from the Land and Water Conservation Fund over the years. (Battle Born Progress)
Red Rock Canyon is one of many sites that has benefitted from the Land and Water Conservation Fund over the years. (Battle Born Progress)
May 9, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. – U.S. Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada have signed on to a bill that would guarantee full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund – a 55-year-old program that provides funds for local ballparks, boat ramps and national monuments across the country.

The bill would set the annual appropriation at $900 million.

Congress permanently reauthorized the program last month after letting it lapse in the fall.

Mauricia Baca, executive director of the group Get Outdoors Nevada, says it was a big win to get the fund permanently renewed – and now it's time to commit to fully funding it.

"It's incredibly important that we be able to ensure that there always be funding in the Land and Water Conservation Fund so that entities that need this money can plan around it and apply for it," she states.

Nevada has received more than $100 million to facilitate access to public land over the years, including projects at Lake Tahoe and Lake Mead, the Walker River State Recreation Area, and Lorenzi Park in North Las Vegas.

Funding comes from fees on offshore oil and gas development that must then be allocated by lawmakers.

Opponents of the bill say it would unnecessarily tie the hands of budget writers in Congress. This year and last, the Trump administration asked that zero dollars be given to the fund.

Peter Guzman, president of the Latin Chamber of Commerce in Las Vegas, says the bill would fund more of the projects that attract people to visit the Silver State and settle here.

"I think it's going to be great for Nevada, I think it's an economic driver,” he stresses. “I think it's going to create a lot of jobs and a lot of revenue in the process."

Nevada's outdoor recreation economy generates more than $1 billion a year in revenue and currently supports about 10,000 jobs.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV