Tag Archives: Jobs in Nevada

Nevada Copper Pumpkin Hollow Project hosted a Public Presentation on July 22

Pumpkin Hollow Project staff met with the local community on July 22, 2015 at 6 PM in the Pioneer Crossing Convention Center for an update on the progress of the Project and revised feasibility study.  Tim Dyhr, Vice President of Environment & External Relations gave a PowerPoint presentation full of updates and information on the Pumpkin Hollow Project with a Q&A session to an audience of over one hundred (100) people.  Seven (7) station tables were set up with Nevada Copper managers and staff to answer questions regarding; Mining, Engineering & Construction, Procurement, Safety, Environment, Processing and Geology.

Key accomplishments to date include:

  • Completed production headframe and hoist
  • Completed 24-foot diameter production-sized shaft to 1900 feet below ground
  • Developed 500+ feet of underground drift on the 1900 haulage level
  • Commenced underground drilling from two stations on the 1900 level
  • Installed electrical substation, ventilation fans, dewatering pumps and other underground infrastructure in the 1900 level
  • Resumed surface drilling in the two open pit zones of the project
  • Completed the “Integrated Feasibility Study” for open pit and underground mining operations with a single 70,000 ton per day processing facility (concentrator) which included;
  • Added drill results from drilling not included in the previous feasibility studies
  • Added improvements to construction, mining and processing

Tim Dyhr pointed out the tasks and steps the Pumpkin Hollow Project must first complete before production can begin:

  • Finalize the land conveyance and state permitting
  • Secure financing for the project
  • Complete the main production shaft to 2,160 feet below the surface
  • Sink a second ventilation and emergency egress shaft
  • Develop the underground mine access drifts
  • Construct processing facilities
  • Construct water, power and road access, as well as shops and offices
  • Recruit and train a workforce for mining and milling operations
  • Obtain and assemble mine shovels, excavators and haul trucks and other equipment for mining
  • Initiate underground and open pit mining

A Safety Award “shout out” was also announced by Tim Dyhr.

Cementation, USA, Nevada Copper’s underground shaft sinking contractor, tied for first (1st) place in the Nevada Mining Association 2015 Safety Awards in the ‘Safety, Contractors’ category.   Nevada Copper, the Pumpkin Hollow Project also tied for first (1st) place in the Safety Underground Category for mine developments up to 99 employees.

http://www.nevadamining.org/safety/2015-safety-awards-release.pdf

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Tim Dyhr, Vice President of Environment and External Relations for Nevada Copper gives an informational updated presentation to the public.

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Greg French, Vice President Exploration and Project Development and Project Geologist, Korin Carpenter answer questions about geology and exploration at Pumpkin Hollow.

Greg French, Vice President of Exploration and Project Development and Project Geologist, Korin Carpenter answer questions about geology and exploration at Pumpkin Hollow.

The presentation also highlighted the extensive environmental studies that have been undertaken to design and operate the project in order to meet high environmental standards, as well as the environmental permitting, management and monitoring work that is ongoing to protect surface water and groundwater. Detailed reclamation plans and performance bonding (to ensure the safe and professional closure and reclamation of the mine upon completion of mining) is required before the project can be built.  These plans must be reviewed every three years by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.  The Yerington land conveyance, as directed by Congress, will also provide distinct opportunities to convert, rather than demolish, mine facilities such as buildings, power lines, water supply and wastewater treatment, and roads for other economic uses upon completion of mining.

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Environmental Specialists Tim Leedy and Mark Hanley conduct groundwater sampling and monitoring seven days a week. Four people are presently employed at Pumpkin Hollow to manage the environmental aspects of the project including a network of 25 monitoring wells.  As the project transitions to production, additional management and monitoring will be conducted on air, water, mine rock, tailings and waste to insure that environmental resources are protected.

4-Nevada-Copper-Inc.-Pumpkin-Hollow-Project-570x257RIGHT PLACE.   RIGHT TIME.    RIGHT PEOPLE.   RIGHT WAY.

RIGHT FOR YERINGTON

 

NEVADA COPPER PUBLIC INFORMATION MEETING

JULY 22, 2015 – 6 PM – Pioneer Crossing Convention Center

 

Please join us for a public information meeting to learn about the Pumpkin Hollow Project.

On Thursday, July 9, Nevada Copper Corp. published a revised feasibility study that describes an integrated open pit and underground mine with a 70,000 ton per day process plant. Combined with the passage of the Yerington Land Conveyance by Congress in December 2014, the company sees the opportunity to develop the Integrated Project (2 mines, one mill) instead of a smaller underground mine and mill first and then a second open pit mine and mill.  The Integrated Project greatly enhances the attractiveness of and opportunity to finance the bigger project.  At the same time we have nearly completed receipt of all necessary permits to develop the integrated project.

With all of this progress, we believe it is a good time to conduct a public information meeting to let the local community know all the things we are doing and will be doing.  This includes safety, environmental and reclamation programs, management and use of groundwater and surface water, construction, mining and processing operations, and the most frequently asked questions about jobs, training and hiring.

Our goal is to ensure our mine is the safest and most productive mine with minimal impact on the environment.  We intend to convert mine facilities to other future economic uses and reclaim mine rock and tailings storage areas, and restore natural vegetation ……  A responsible approach to mining. 

Before Nevada Copper begins production and makes its first penny from copper, it needs to invest $1 billion!

We first must:

  • Complete the land conveyance and state permitting
  • Secure financing for the project
  • Complete the main production shaft to 2,160 feet below the surface
  • Sink a second ventilation-emergency egress shaft
  • Develop the underground mine access drifts (or tunnels)
  • Construct processing facilities
  • Construct water, power and road access, as well as shops and offices
  • Recruit and train a workforce for mining and milling operations
  • Obtain and assemble mine shovels, excavators and haul trucks and other equipment for mining
  • Initiate underground and open pit mining

All of Nevada will benefit from the taxes and jobs created by the Pumpkin Hollow Mine Project. Over the period of active production, the Integrated Project would create approximately 900-1,000 direct jobs. In addition, the mine will employ contractors (indirect jobs) and create other “induced” jobs such as local retail or service businesses, teachers and other public services. Total direct, indirect and induced jobs created by this project are estimated to be 3,000-3,500.

We at Nevada Copper, Pumpkin Hollow Project are committed to an on-going consultation with the Yerington community and to provide updated information on the progress of our project as it moves along.

“Right Place. Right Time. Right People. Right Way.”

 

 

On March 6, 2015 six members of the Nevada Mining Association and two directors from the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development came to visit Nevada Copper, the Pumpkin Hollow Mine Project for an overview presentation and a mine tour. The occasion gave us a chance to highlight the opportunities for economic development with both mines and other commercial and industrial development envisioned at Pumpkin Hollow.

The Nevada Mining Association has existed for more than 100 years-first established in 1912 as the Nevada Mine Operators Association and changed to the Nevada Mining Association in 1952. From debating policy matters in the state legislature and local governments to uniting the voice of the industry in public relations and leading the industry’s efforts in the community, the work of the Nevada Mining Association can be seen in all corners of the state and in all levels of the communities. http://www.nevadamining.org/

The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) was created during the 2011 Session of the Nevada Legislature through a collaboration of the Nevada Governor’s Office and the Leadership of the Nevada State Senate and State Assembly.

GOED promotes a robust, diversified and prosperous economy in Nevada, stimulating business expansion and retention, encouraging entrepreneurial enterprise, attracting new business and facilitating community development. http://diversifynevada.com/

A tour of the Hoist House with Nevada Mining Association and GOED (Government of Economic Development).

A tour of the Hoist House with Nevada Mining Association and GOED.

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Nevada Copper’s General Manager of Project Construction, Tim Dake explains the mechanisms & procedures at the shaft, sub-collar.

From left to right standing in from the the Cashman-Equipment is Nevada Copper'sTim Dake,
From left to right standing in front of  a loader supplied by Cashman-Equipment is Nevada Copper’s Tim Dake, UNR Student and NVMA legislative intern Jordan Hicks, Bill Arends, NMA Lauren Arends, President of NMA Dana Bennett, GOED Directors Steve Hill & Peter Walllish, NMA’s Dylan Shaver and Joseph Riney.
Understanding and learning about the shaft progress

Understanding and learning about the shaft progress

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Bachelors of Science, Mining Engineers, Tate Boyster and Axel Loehden inquire about employment at the Nevada Copper booth.

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Metallurgical Engineers sign-up for possible summer internship at Nevada Copper.

 

Nevada Copper participated in the Natural Resources and Environmental Science/Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering Career and Internship Fair of 2015.  The NRES-Mackay School of Mines event took place in the Joe Crowley Student Union, University of Nevada, Reno on February 11, 2015.

This event provided an opportunity to meet and interact with the students majoring or interested in career fields such as environmental science, geology, mining engineering, metallurgical and related units.

Rita Kay Menesini, Nevada Copper’s Community Relations Coordinator says the students and graduates presented themselves in a most professional manner and showed much potential for future hiring.  She wishes each & every student the best.

A big thank you to Katia Albright, M.A., Coordinator of Career Development, Nancy Markee, Ph.D, Associate Professor Natural Resources and Environmental Science, and to Julie Stoughton, M.S., Lecturer and Academic Advisor Natural Resources and Environmental Science.  Also to everyone involved in organizing this beneficial event.

 

 

More time efficient permitting process to U.S. mining can lead the way to a more secure, prosperous and innovative future.  For more information, please check out these videos and links below.  Thank you.

http://mineralsmakelife.org/

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Here’s another resource on minerals moving America forward –

By Hal Quinn, contributor

http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/energy-environment/230402-minerals-and-metals-drive-america-forward

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Reno Gazette Journal’s Ray Hagar, ranked passage of Nevada’s Land Bill his number two top story in 2014. To see the full article visit Reno Gazette Journal or click here. The Nevada Lands Bill highlight is below.

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Nevada Copper ends this year with a jump start for 2015!

2. Massive Nevada land bills pass Congress: A collection of eight land bills that transfers 130,000 acres of federal land in Nevada to local control passed Congress after languishing in Washington for more than five years. A main part of this bill will transfer 10,400 acres of BLM land near Yerington to local control. It will jump-start Nevada Copper’s open-pit copper mining, leading to the creation of more than 3,000 direct and ancillary jobs in Northern Nevada. These bills probably would have never passed the U.S. Senate but Reid and Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., tied them to the Department of Defense appropriations bill. Copper, it was argued, is the second most-used metal in defense projects and Yerington is sitting on a ton of it. Plus the land transfers aids expansions of Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas and the Naval Air Station near Fallon.


 

 Please read the full article here

 http://www.rgj.com/story/news/politics/2014/12/23/red-wave-tops-nevada-politics/20839915/

 

BELIEVE IT!  Corner of Main Street & Goldfield Avenue, Yerington, Nevada

BELIEVE IT!
Corner of Main Street & Goldfield Avenue, Yerington, Nevada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations Yerington!  Nevada Copper

Congratulations Yerington! Nevada Copper

 

 

 

 

 

LAND BILL PASSES!

LAND BILL PASSES!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please read the Mason Valley News article by Keith Trout, ktrout@masonvalleynews.com Wednesday, December 17, 2014  –   MVN-LongRoad-LandBillApproved20141217KTrout

Dean Heller Top

 

 

 

For Immediate Release: Contact: Neal A. Patel
December 10, 2014 202-224-6244

Heller Urges Support of Lands Provisions for Nevada

(Washington, DC) – Today, United States Senator Dean Heller spoke on the Senate Floor about his support of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, specifically his support of some public lands provisions. The lands provisions include several Nevada public lands priorities that will grow the Nevada’s economy with mine expansion and development of public land.

REMARKS AS PREPARED:

“I rise today to speak in support of some of the public lands provisions that were included in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.

Before I do so, I would first like to recognize the work Senators Levin and Inhofe have put into this bill and their dedication to reaching an agreement with the House so that this bill can move forward on time as it has for over 50 years.

As a member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I hear every day about the sacrifices service members make to protect our country.

Passing the authorization bill that helps ensure they have the equipment they need and the resources required to meet the mission they are tasked with is important.

While I am pleased the Senate will be moving forward on this bill, I would like to note that the bill’s reduction in service members’ benefits concerns me. I believe Members should have had the chance to debate and amend this, and I hope the Senate will have that opportunity in the future.

This year, the final defense bill includes several Nevada public lands priorities that will spur economic development and job creation in our state while enhancing U.S. national security. I have been working on many of these proposals since I was first elected to Congress in 2006.

I want to thank incoming Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowksi for her leadership and work on this public lands package.

We have been working together for years on many of the bills included in the package, and I’m glad to see them get across the finish line.

Let me first clarify that just because some of these bills are related to public lands does not mean that they do not have a direct relationship to defense and protecting our national security. My Nevada Copper bill will increase domestic production of copper, the second most used mineral at the Department of the Defense as well as directly benefitting two bases located in the State of Nevada.

Mr. President, as you may know, roughly 85 percent of the land in Nevada is controlled by the federal government. This presents our local and state governments with many unique challenges. Our communities’ economies are directly tied to the way the federal government manages those lands.

They often work closely with me to develop legislative solutions to their problems. Whereas out east, local government can acquire land on their own to build public works projects; out west we unfortunately have to get Congress’ permission.

That is why reducing the federal estate and increasing access to our public lands has been one of my top priorities in Congress, and this package goes a long way towards accomplishing these goals.

It resolves over sixty of these types of issues throughout the west. In total, over 110,000 acres of land will be removed from federal ownership and utilized for mineral production, timber production, infrastructure projects and other community development. In addition, it releases approximately 26,000 acres of current wilderness study areas, which unlocks lands to be used for multiple-use.

It is important to discuss the eight Nevada provisions today, to show my colleagues here the many hoops our western communities have to go through to take the same steps that many eastern communities can accomplish in a day’s time.

The Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act is a jobs bill that I first introduced while in the House but has been held up by Senate gridlock for years.

This bill allows the City of Yerington to partner with Nevada Copper to develop roughly 12,500 acres of land surrounding the Nevada Copper Pumpkin Hollow project site to be used for mining activities, industrial and renewable energy development, and recreation.

Senate passage is the final hurdle to more than 1,000 new jobs at an average wage of over $85,000 per year. The mine will contribute nearly $25 million in property and net proceeds taxes per year that would be distributed to the State, Lyon County, their Schools, the hospital district, and the Mason Valley Fire Protection District.

In addition, Nevada Copper plans to invest $80 million in infrastructure for the mine and processing facilities that can be utilized to support other land uses and economic development. This bill will transform the local economy of the one of the counties in our nation that is struggling most due to the recent economic downturn.

As I said before, Copper is the second most used mineral at the Department of the Defense, and is considered an essential mineral for weapons production.

Copper is also the primary mineral from which other strategic and critical metals like Rhenium are derived. A domestic supply of this important resource greatly benefits our national security.

Second – there is a provision in this package that will allow Naval Air Station Fallon to acquire over 400 acres of BLM land for a safety arc for an explosive ordinance handling facility and to construct the much needed family housing at the station. Both of these plans will greatly benefit mission operations and the quality of life for our brave service members serving there. The station first asked for these lands over twenty years ago. I am glad their wait will finally end.

Third – the package includes the Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act, a proposal that has been in the works in Humboldt County for nearly a decade. Just north of the Black Rock Desert, the Pine Forest offers a diverse landscape of sagebrush, aspen and rock formations. Scenic lakes and reservoirs offer world-class trout fisheries.

From the ranchers who make their livelihood on grazing allotments to conservationists’ intent on preserving a rugged landscape, anyone familiar with the place agrees it’s special.

In addition to conserving these areas the bill releases areas from wilderness that needs watershed restoration and treatment due to a high wildfire threat. It also provides for the construction of additional campsites and accommodations for motorized camping.

The initial work on the Pine Forest bill was grassroots driven, transparent, and ultimately supported unanimously by all stakeholders and local governments in this county.

Fourth – the package includes the Elko Motocross and Tribal Conveyance Act, another bill I first introduced in the 111th Congress as a member of the House. This common-sense bill conveys 275 acres of BLM lands to Elko County for a public motocross park. Additionally, it provides 373 acres to the Elko Band of the Te-Moak Tribe for housing and tribal economic development.

Outdoor recreation and tourism are such important parts of life in Nevada. Opening up this land will benefit the residents of Northern Nevada for years to come.

Fifth – this lands package includes the Las Vegas Valley Public Land and Tule Spring Fossil Beds National Monument Act, which is the culmination of several years of effort to conserve the ancient Tule Springs Fossil Beds while providing job creation opportunities and critical civilian and military infrastructure that will be necessary to meet the needs of the Las Vegas Valley.
After working with stakeholders at every level, I am pleased that we can navigate a path forward for southern Nevada.

While serving in the House, I also introduced legislation in both the 110th and 111th Congresses to convey parcels of BLM land to the Nellis Air Force Base, to create an off-highway vehicle park in the Nellis Dunes, and to convey land to the Nevada System of Higher Education to expand educational opportunities for Southern Nevadans.

Those smaller bills were ultimately included in S.973 this Congress, so I am pleased that over six years of work on this Tule Springs legislation will finally become a reality.

The final three Nevada bills included in the lands package are newer proposals, but achieve long-term economic development objectives that the affected communities have long-pursued.
The Fernley Economic Self-Determination Act provides Fernley the opportunity to purchase up to 9,114 acres of federal land within the city boundaries for the purpose of economic development.

Fernley was incorporated in 2001. Since incorporation, the City has been working with private business partners and state and federal regional agencies to develop a long-term economic development plan. These parcels have significant potential for commercial and industrial development, agriculture activities, and the expansion of community events.

Similarly, the Carlin Economic Self-Determination Act allows Carlin to purchase up to 1,329 acres of BLM lands. This city, located in Elko County, is completely landlocked by federal land. Without this legislation, it would be impossible for their leaders to meet the demand for expansion their growing population needs.

Finally, the Storey County provision conveys over 1,700 acres of BLM lands to Virginia City. These properties have been occupied for decades by individuals who purchased them or acquired them legally, yet their continued residency is trespass according to the federal government.

It is a very burdensome oversight by the federal government that must be resolved for the sake of my constituents. They have struggled for years haunted by this error that is the result of no fault of their own.

As you can see, these small public lands proposals are going to make a MAJOR impact on Nevada’s economy. They have all been developed at the local level and signed off on by the local communities

I understand my colleagues concerns that would have liked the opportunity to debate and vote on more amendments to this bill. I too, had filed a number of amendments that I would have liked to see considered and will continue pushing those priorities next year.
Right now, Congress has the rare opportunity to pass this public lands package that enables important mining, energy development, ranching, and timber work to go forward generating economic and employment opportunities for my and other states and local residents. Let’s get the government off these Nevadans’ backs and allow them to do what they do best – creating jobs.”

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The eight Nevada public lands priorities included in the package are:

1) Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act – allows the City of Yerington to work with Nevada Copper to expand its mining operation and create over 1000+ jobs while also providing the City with new infrastructure, job creation, and recreational opportunities.

2) Elko Motocross and Tribal Conveyance Act – conveys nearly 300 acres of BLM land to Elko County for a public motocross park while providing land to the Elko Band of the Te-Moak Tribe for housing and community development.

3) Fernley Economic Self-Determination Act – provides the City of Fernley over 9,000 acres of federal land within its boundaries suitable for l commercial and industrial development, agriculture, and the expansion of community and cultural events

4) Las Vegas Valley Public Land and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Act – establishes Nevada’s first national monument while conveys BLM land suitable for economic development in Clark and Nye Counties for county and city growth and commercial development, additions to the Great Basin College in Pahrump, College of Southern Nevada, and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) campuses, establishment the Nellis Dunes OHV park, and an expansion of Nellis Air Force Base.

5) Pine Forest Range Recreation Enhancement Act – establishes the Pine Forest Range Wilderness Area while directing land exchanges between the BLM and local ranchers to ensure the economic viability of privately owned ranches

6) Carlin Economic Self-Determination Act – provides the City of Carlin over 1,000 acres of federal land surrounding the City to be used for economic development.

7) Naval Air Station Fallon Housing and Safety Development Act – conveys nearly 400 acres of BLM land to the NAS Fallon for housing and continued use by the base.

8) Storey County Lands Fix – resolves a long-standing mining townsite issue that have put private property rights in question.

Ray Hagar, RGJ 6:56 p.m. PST December 10, 2014

http://www.rgj.com/story/news/2014/12/10/reid-expects-passage-nevada-land-bills-senate/20225887/

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Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., predicted Wednesday that eight Nevada lands bills included in the nation’s primary spending bill for the Department of Defense will pass the U.S. Senate by the end of the week.

Meanwhile, Nevada’s junior Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., made a 10-minute speech on the Senate floor Wednesday pushing for the inclusion of the eight bills into the National Defense Authorization Act. Together, the eight land bills would transfer a total of 130,000 acres of federal lands in Nevada to local governments or made into wilderness areas.

Heller emphasized that the land transfers would create jobs across the state.

“This will spur economic development and job creation in our state while enhancing U.S. national security,” Heller told his colleagues.

One of the transfers deals with federal land that surrounds the Nevada Copper mining operation in Yerington. Passage of that bill would jump-start open-pit mining at the Pumpkin Hollow site near Yerington and lead to the growth of 1,200 mining and construction jobs that pay an average of $85,000 — plus about 1,800 ancillary jobs, studies have shown.

Many of the ancillary jobs and those directly connected to the mining operation will be centered in the Reno-Sparks area, Nevada Copper officials said.

“It’s huge for Reno,” Nevada Copper’s Tim Dyhr said. “A large portion of our support, contractors and suppliers are coming out of Reno. But we are also getting materials out of Winnemucca, out of Elko.

“Nevada Cement is another example,” Dyhr said of the regional economic impact of the Nevada Copper open-pit expansion. “Nevada Cement out of Fernley is supplying all of the cement for the project.”

Other Washoe County companies doing business with the mine include Granite Construction of Sparks, Western Nevada Supply of Sparks, Komatsu Equipment (large trucks) of Reno, PDM Steel of Sparks and Northern Nevada Rebar of Reno.

“We use so many vendors out of the Reno area,” Dyhr said. “And a lot of them are the smaller vendors. They are all coming from somewhere in Northern Nevada.”

The land bills, which include projects in Northern and Southern Nevada, will need 60 votes in the Senate to both end debate on the bill and bring the bill to a vote on the Senate floor, Reid said. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives.

“Passage only takes 50 votes (with 100 U.S. Senators) but we’ll need 60 votes on cloture (ending the debate) and 60 votes on a budget point-of-order that they’ll raise,” Reid said.

“We have some procedures to follow but it (passage) could happen as late as Friday or Saturday,” Reid said. “Senate time is never definite, but this is going to happen. We are going to pass that bill, OK? We’ll pass it.”

Heller stressed to Senate colleagues that the importance of copper to national defense, calling it “the second-most used mineral at the Department of Defense.”

He noted that the land package also has a direct impact on Nellis Air Force Base in Clark County and the Naval Air Station in Fallon.

Reid agreed, saying “there is a lot of good stuff in there for the military.”

Yet Reid was highly critical of Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., for holding up many of the land transfers for years. Heller noted he has worked on many of the proposals for the six years he’s been a senator and congressman from Nevada.

“Dr. Coburn (he is a medical doctor), who is leaving the Senate at the end of this year, has for 10 years held up hundreds, hundreds of these land bills,” Reid said. “Personally, he’s held them up. So Democrats and Republicans sat down and they have been working for months and they are tired of it (Coburn’s blocking tactics). He’s held up naming of parks and stuff that doesn’t matter. But this stuff is very substantive. It is really important piece of legislation, especially for public-land states.”

Coburn’s representative could not be reached by phone Wednesday evening.

Yerington is not the only Northern Nevada municipality that has a stake in the passage of the Department of Defense funding bill.

Fernley would be able to purchase about 9,000 acres of federal land within its boundaries. The land would be earmarked for commercial and industrial development.

Elko would receive about 300 acres of federal land for a motocross park and to provide housing for the Elko Band of the Te-Moak Tribe for housing.

Carlin — in Elko County — would receive about 1,000 acres of federal land to be used for economic development.

The Naval Air Station near Fallon would receive 400 acres of federal land for a buffer zone for explosives testing and housing for military at the base.

A long-standing issue in Storey County would be resolved by the transfer of 1,700 acres of federal land to Virginia City, ending a long-standing dispute that has put private-property rights in question.

“These properties have been occupied for decades by individuals who purchased them or acquired them legally, yet their continued residency is trespassing, according to the federal government,” Heller said on the Senate floor.

Also, the bill would establish the Pine Forest Wilderness Area near Winnemucca while directing land exchanges between the Bureau of Land Management and local ranchers. The transfers is expected to improve the economic prospects of those privately owned ranches.

In Southern Nevada, the bill would establish Nevada’s first national monument at the Tule Springs fossil beds, expand Nellis Air Force base and create the Nellis Off-Highway Vehicles Park.

It would also allow federal land transfers to benefit Great Basin College in Pahrump, the College of Southern Nevada and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The article below comes from The Las Vegas Sun. It was written by Amber Phillips and was published today, Dec. 9th, 2014.  It may be seen in its original form here.


Sun logoBy the end of this week, Las Vegans could have something that has alluded them for years: Thousands of acres of federal land to develop commercially.

Eight once-stalled Nevada lands bills look poised to pass Congress as part of a last-minute deal in the lame-duck session.

The bills would open up about 1,200 acres for commercial development in North Las Vegas and Las Vegas and create a new North Las Vegas campus for UNLV. They’ll also create a Tule Springs national monument in the north valley, help expand a copper mine in Yerington and close 26,000 acres up north for wilderness protection.

Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross called it “a game changer.” There could be a new health complex near the Veterans Affairs hospital in North Las Vegas, and Las Vegas could see a new high-tech industrial complex, possibly focusing on drones, between Nellis and Creech Air Force bases.

Plus, creating a national monument has the potential to boost tourism, said Ross, whose ward represents Tule Springs.

“We have North America’s richest fossil bed in our backyard that’s currently being managed by the Bureau of Land Management,” he said. “That doesn’t allow us to fully capitalize on the historic and educational opportunities there.”

The bills passed the House of Representatives last week and should get a vote in the Senate this week. If they pass, they’ll head to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

If that happens, this will be the largest lands package to pass Congress since about 2009. But it’s far from a done deal: Lands bills have been tough to get through Congress recently in part because some conservatives oppose on principle transferring or creating federal land.

Here’s everything you need to know about the deal.

How we got here at the 11th hour

Last week, Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., negotiated a deal with other western lawmakers and key Republicans to include the bills into a larger package on a bill that funds our military.

Exchanging land between the federal government and states doesn’t have much to do with defense — although Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., argued the copper created in a Yerington mine is pertinent to national defense. (Parts of the lands bills also expand Fallon Naval Air Station and Nellis Air Force Base.)

But it does help ensure their passage.

Reid, the Senate Democrats’ leader, has had trouble passing lands bills on their own. Conservative Republicans, like Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, object to proposals that expand federal control of land. In the Republican-controlled House, a lands deal popular in Nevada took more than three years and several tries to get through, and its chances in the Senate seemed slim.

“Reid has to find more creative ways to get these bills over the goal line,” said Jim Manley, a former communications director for Reid.

So Reid attached the lands deal to one of the few pieces of legislation that Congress must pass before it goes home for the end of the year. Among other things, the 16,000-page, $585 billion defense spending bill authorizes troops to be paid and housed.

Lawmakers, especially Republicans, wouldn’t dare hold up such an important bill because of a few land swaps out west — so goes Reid’s game theory. It’s high risk, but potentially high reward for Reid.

But hurdles remain

In today’s dysfunctional Congress, bundling of unrelated bills is actually quite normal. Lawmakers (especially those with leverage, like Reid) typically engage in last-minute trading to get their projects attached to higher-priority legislation.

But that process doesn’t sit well with everybody.

Coburn, a fiscal conservative who is retiring at the end of this Congress, said:

“A bill that defines the needs of our nation’s defense is hardly the proper place to trample on private property rights,” Coburn wrote in a letter to next year’s Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Another opponent of the process is Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas. Cruz implied Reid and other senators who put lands provisions in the defense bill, like Republican John McCain of Arizona, basically engaged in earmarks, which are banned in Congress.

“With the military’s shrinking budget, it is offensive that this bill would be used to fund congressional pork,” he said in a statement.

Rep. Mark Amodei, a Northern Nevada Republican who supports the lands bills, counters all these have been discussed in committee hearings. At least one has already passed the House of Representatives.

“It’s like, hey, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody,” Amodei said.

Still, Coburn has vowed to use every procedural move he can to delay the bill — and lawmakers’ Christmas break.

What remains to be seen this week is if Coburn’s Republican colleagues, like Heller, can persuade him and other opponents to stand down.

In the balance hangs years of work on lands bills, and hundreds of potential jobs for Las Vegans.

Conor Shine contributed to this story.


Article Source:

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2014/dec/09/jobs-and-growth-why-lands-bills-could-mean-plenty-/