As the days of Nevada Sen. Harry Reid’s power to set the agenda of the U.S. Senate wind down in this lame duck session of Congress, there is one bill the Democratic majority leader must bring to a vote and win passage.
That is a package of seven bills — collectively known as H.R. 5205 — which passed the House on a voice vote on Sept. 15. Passage of this package of bills would have a huge impact on jobs and economic development in rural Nevada.
If it fails to pass in the next month, the legislative package will have to start all over again in 2015 in the 114th Congress and could take another two years to complete — though some aspects of the bill have been pending since 1991.
Sponsored by Republican Rep. Mark Amodei in the north and Democrat Rep. Steven Horsford in the south, Amodei said of the bill as it was clearing the House, “These are community-driven lands measures that will create jobs without cost to the federal taxpayer. For the second time in two years, the eyes of Northern Nevada turn to the Senate.”
One part of the bill — the Lyon County Economic Development and Conservation Act — would allow the town of Yerington to buy, at market value, 12,500 acres of federal land adjacent to the Pumpkin Hollow copper mine for an industrial park. It is estimated the project could create 800 to 1,000 permanent jobs and about 500 jobs during the construction phase.
It has languished in Congress for six years now.
Other parts of the bill would create a wilderness area in Humboldt County, clear up ownership of land in Virginia City, allow Carlin to buy federal land for economic development, transfer land in Fallon for Navy housing, allow Fernley to buy federal land for economic development and set aside land in Elko for a motocross track and for an Indian tribe.
If Reid dithers, we call on Sen. Dean Heller to push this bill for Nevadans who need jobs. — TM