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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Colleges see big drop in foreign-language enrollment; Kentucky advocates say it's time to bury medical debt; Young Farmers in Michigan hope the new farm bill will include key benefits regarding land access.

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The White House presses for supplemental Ukraine aid. Leaders condemn antisemitic attacks during Gaza ceasefire protests. Despite concerns about the next election, one Arizona legal expert says courts generally side with voters and democracy.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

Nevada BLM Determined to Spend Federal Funds Wisely

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Wednesday, August 9, 2023   

As the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act approaches, some Nevada experts are examining what it has meant for the state so far.

A recent online discussion focused on where Inflation Reduction Act investments have been made for Nevada's public lands, and what can be done to ensure future renewable energy projects are executed responsibly.

Greg Helseth, renewable energy branch chief for the Bureau of Land Management's Nevada office, said his agency's role is to manage the land for multiple uses, and renewable energy is no exception.

He pointed out the agency tries to site projects with the lowest possible impact, but it is not always 100% achievable.

"If the mitigation works out correctly, then you can possibly approve a project, but there are a lot of lessons learned over time," Helseth acknowledged. "We're seeing a change from disc-and-roll to leaving vegetation intact for the biodiversity."

Helseth noted some "early funding opportunities" have become available through the agency's updated Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, which, according to the BLM, "helps accelerate and continue momentum for the clean energy economy." Helseth predicts most of the Inflation Reduction Act investments will be seen starting next year, for what he calls "conservation metrics."

The agency's proposed Public Lands Rule would uphold the BLM's "multiple use and sustained yield mission." Helseth said it is playing a part in how funding is allocated. The rule would put conservation efforts on par with other uses.

Helseth said in Nevada, the agency is already mindful of the need to better coexist with the landscape and wildlife when energy projects are being pursued.

"We are trying to keep away from the corridors and only -- we do things like construction only during certain periods of the year -- so that we're not affecting big horn sheep lambing season, or we're not affecting sage grouse lek season," Helseth outlined.

Earlier this year, the Department of Interior announced plans to infuse $161 million into ecosystem restoration, with the BLM leading those efforts. Two restoration landscapes were selected in the Silver State.


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The Mecca Hills, southeast of the Coachella Valley, are part of the proposed Chuckwalla National Monument. (Bureau of Land Management)

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