Press Releases

SNPLMA Instrumental in Major Nevada Conservation and Economic Development Successes

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) contacted Department of the Interior Secretary (DOI) Ryan Zinke and Senate Interior and Environment Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Lisa Murkowski and Ranking Member Tom Udall to express his strong concern with a recently leaked budget proposal that would gut the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act’s (SNPLMA) program. Enacted in 1998, SNPLMA is a program that allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sell public land within a specific boundary around Las Vegas, Nevada, and the revenue generated by those sales are invested in important projects in Nevada.

Specifically, the proposal suggests rescinding $230 million from the program, generated from previous land sales within Clark County. This rescission would prohibit the Department from implementing a variety of important public works, wildfire prevention, and wildlife conservation initiatives throughout Nevada in coming years. 

The letter to Secretary Zinke reads in full:

Dear Secretary Zinke,

I write to express my strong opposition to the proposed rescissions of $230 million from the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act special account at the Department of the Interior, established under Public Law 105-263, laid out in a document provided to Congressional Appropriators by the Administration in preparation for the Fiscal Year 2017 budget negotiations.  These resources are obligated for important wildlife restoration, conservation, outdoor recreation, and infrastructure development projects in the State of Nevada, and are an important component of carefully negotiated public land legislation enacted by the Nevada Congressional Delegation over the past two decades. I respectfully request you eliminate these proposed rescissions from budget request or negotiation. 

The Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA) became law in October 1998, and allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sell public land within a specific boundary around Las Vegas, Nevada. The revenue derived from those sales is split between the State of Nevada General Education Fund (5%), the Southern Nevada Water Authority (10%), a government agency tasked with the regional water management, and a special account available to the Secretary of the Interior for public works projects, ecological restoration, and conservation efforts.  It is one of the Department’s most successful programs, authorizing land sales that played an integral role in the Las Vegas region’s growth into one of the largest metropolitan areas in the west, while investing over $3.4 billion in over 1200 conservation projects that would otherwise require significant Congressional appropriations or would not occur at all.   

Not only would a rescission usurp important economic growth and conservation initiatives, it would undermine important agreements that local communities, tribal governments, and the federal government formed in good faith. Rather than improve trust with local governments, facilitate additional outdoor recreation, and empower grassroots driven conservation, goals you’ve told me personally are among your top priorities as Secretary, this action would hamper any efforts to achieve a working, trustful relationship between your department and Nevada’s local government officials.

Keeping the SMPLMA program intact will help spur economic development in the private sector and provide the necessary resources for conservation and habitat restoration and to reduce the risk of wildfires.  I respectfully request that you reconsider the proposal to gut the program. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely, 

DEAN HELLER
U.S. Senator

cc: Michael Nedd, Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management

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