Sloan Hills bill moving again

A bill that would bar development of a gravel quarry at Sloan Hills outside Henderson took a step forward today in the U.S. Senate.

The Senate's public lands and forests subcommittee had a hearing on the Southern Nevada measure and 20 other bills that had passed from the panel in the previous Congress but never made final passage.

Subcommittee chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the session largely was pro forma, held "simply to update the record on these bills." 

"It is my hope these bills will be moved," Wyden said. "The committee will complete work on them soon." 

Nevada's congresssonal delegation reintroduced the Sloan Hills bill on March 1.  It would declare mining off limits on 800 acres managed by the Bureau of Land Management in the southern portion of the Las Vegas Valley.

Lawmakers said their intent was to block the quarry proposal. The BLM is studying the feasibility of leasing the property to construction companies interested in creating an open pit mine to excavate aggregates used to make concrete.

Residents of Sun City Anthem and other housing developments within a few miles of Sloan Hills have rallied against the proposal, charging it would introduce noise and dust pollution and truck traffic, and harm home values.

Mike Pool, BLM deputy director, told the subcommittee the agency was deferring a position on the bill because it was in the midst of conducting an environmental study on the quarry proposal.