Deal reached on Northern Nevada land

WASHINGTON – A Northern Nevada wilderness and development bill left for dead earlier this year is getting new life in Congress.

Lawmakers have reached an agreement on setting aside 26,000 acres as wilderness in the Pine Forest Range in Humboldt County. That compromise has been coupled with plans to create a wilderness area in the Wovoka Forest in Lyon County, and to sell 10,000 acres of federal land to the city of Yerington to help develop a job-creating copper mine.

The deal also incorporates land redesignations in Carlin, Fernley, Storey County, Elko County, the reservation of the Te-moak Tribe of Western Shoshone Indians, and a land transfer benefiting Fallon Naval Air Station.

All told it includes nearly 73,500 acres of wilderness in Northern Nevada. About 23,000 acres are dedicated for economic development, according to Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House public lands subcommittee.

The deal has been put on a fast track. Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., introduced it as legislation Friday. The House Natural Resources is scheduled to vote on it Wednesday.

“We reached a compromise that both sides are comfortable with,” Amodei spokesman Brian Baluta said Monday. “We can get this through committee and onto the House floor.”

The bills had been put on the back burner after wilderness limits were added by House Republicans in January. The changes made them unpalatable to environmentalists and Democrats, including Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, whose support was seen as necessary for Senate passage.

The restrictions were relaxed through negotiations involving Amodei, Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., and leaders of the House resources panel, according to congressional officials.

Contact Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760. Find him on Twitter: @STetreaultDC.