Porter studies federal land plan

WASHINGTON — Nevada wilderness advocates have launched a new drive for Congress to designate more federally protected land in Clark County, and are targeting Rep. Jon Porter to take a lead on what could be a controversial issue.

The Nevada Republican said he is considering the proposal but probably will not decide soon whether to embrace the plan that calls for upgrading wilderness designations in the 344,400-acre Gold Butte region.

“There is always an urgency when it comes to preserve and protect public lands, and I understand that,” Porter said. “But there is a process that has to happen first,” including sign-offs from local communities.

Wedged between Lake Mead and the Parashant National Monument in Arizona, Gold Butte has been called by preservationists “Nevada’s piece of the Grand Canyon.”

The remote area 65 miles northeast of Las Vegas features intriguing rock formations, colorful sandstone cliffs, petroglyphs and remnants of mining sites that thrived for a few years at the turn of the century.

But in most all cases bills that seek to alter federal land use in Nevada are scrutinized by stakeholders that include government officials, ranchers, off-road vehicle enthusiasts and conservationists.

For close to a decade environmental groups have sought to designate Gold Butte as a national conservation area, the same level of protection as Red Rock Canyon and Sloan Canyon in the western and southern ends of the Las Vegas Valley.

Within the Gold Butte region, Sens. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and John Ensign, R-Nev., in 2002 arranged the most protective federal wilderness designations for Small Lime Canyon and Jumbo Springs, totaling 28,000 acres.

The Bureau of Land Management has designated 344,437 acres of Gold Butte — more than 537 square miles — as an “area of critical environmental concern.” But advocates say that does not give the BLM enough tools against encroachment by dirt bike riders and paint ball warriors.

Advocates approached Porter in May with a new proposal to designate a portion of Gold Butte as wilderness surrounded by a national conservation area.

They also unveiled a poll financed by five organizations including the Nevada Wilderness Project, the Campaign for America’s Wilderness, the Sierra Club, Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the Wilderness Society.

The survey, conducted by Republican pollster Glen Bolger, indicated 66 percent of Clark County residents would favor creating a national conservation area with wilderness at Gold Butte. Opposed was 27 percent, according to the poll of 400 likely voters. The margin of error was 4.9 percent.

In Porter’s 3rd Congressional District, the poll numbers were 68 percent in favor and 26 percent opposed.

John Wallin, director of the Nevada Wilderness Project, said the groups have delayed release of their detailed plans so the Nevada delegation could examine them and discuss them with local officials.

“To be frank, we are still waiting to hear from Congressman Porter’s office when they will be done communicating with some of the communities,” Wallin said.

“The (Capitol) Hill calendar is compressing by the second and we think this needs to happen soon,” he said.

Wallin said the plan is a compromise that reduces proposed wilderness by 80,000 acres and does not close any roads to satisfy those concerned that land will be locked off.

“On its own merits there is real opportunity here for conservation,” Wallin said. “We can completely jump past the normal very tired conversations as to whether there is access being banned. We can do this without banning anybody.”

Wallin said wilderness groups are seeking broad input. Discussions are ongoing with officials in Clark County and Mesquite, “and we are ready to go talk to the Moapa Town Board.”

Porter’s district contains Gold Butte.

He also is the chief sponsor of a House bill, introduced in October with Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., that conveys 4,900 acres to Mesquite for an airport and associated development.

Wilderness advocates want the Gold Butte plan to be added to that bill. Clark County leaders and representatives of other interest groups also are eyeing the Mesquite bill.

According to two sources, the county would like to add language to gain ownership of Nellis Dunes, a 10,000-acre patch of desert near Las Vegas Speedway that is popular among off-roaders. The dirt track would be turned into a country recreation area.

In an interview Thursday, Porter said there is more homework to be done to vet the Gold Butte proposal, and whether it should be added to the Mesquite bill.

“There are a lot of families and individuals who have been doing their best to preserve and protect Gold Butte for years,” Porter said. “Most everyone we talk to understands and agrees there needs to be some preservation and protection.

“But before anything is attached to that (Mesquite) bill, at least within my control, we are going to make sure the town boards of Moapa Valley are going to have a say and the community of Moapa Valley and Virgin Valley,” Porter said. “They have been stewards of that area for years and they need to play an integral part.”

Mesquite officials expect that the airport land bill will acquire an amendment of some kind that will be satisfactory to environmentalists.

Successful Nevada public land bills usually open BLM land for development, balanced with new wilderness. That formula enabled passage of a Clark County bill in 2002, a Lincoln County bill in 2004 and a White Pine County bill in 2006.

“An environmental component is almost mandatory,” Mesquite City Manager Tim Hacker said. “It is just the reality of moving land acts through Congress.”

Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at stetreault@stephensmedia.com or 202-783-1760.

Thunder Mountain monument stands as a tribute to Native American culture
Caretaker Fred Lewis talks about Thunder Mountain monument in central Nevada, made from concrete and found items. The five-acre site is a tribute to Native Peoples of the West. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New CCSD superintendent Jesus F. Jara aims for 1st in the nation
On his third day as Clark County School District superintendent, Jesus F. Jara talks about his vision for the future during a visit to Del Sol Academy of the Performing Arts on Thursday, June 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Ceremony Recognizes Refugee Students, Graduates
Rosy Mibulano, a graduate of Las Vegas High School who came to America from the Congo in 2015, was recognized in a ceremony for refugee students in Clark County. Like many other students relocated to Las Vegas from countries around the world, Rosy had a challenging high school experience, from learning English to adjusting to American customs and taking care of her family. On top of that, she wants to go to school to become a nurse so she can take care of her mother, who suffers from diabetes. The annual Refugee Recognition Ceremony celebrates the enormous lengths these young adults go through to create a new life for themselves. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Paul McCartney is worth over $1 billion
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most celebrated and accomplished musicians in history. He just turned 76 on June 18. McCartney grew to international fame with the Beatles and went on to become a wildly successful solo musician. Paul McCartney’s net worth is estimated at $1.2 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth. In 2017, McCartney landed the No. 13 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s highest-paid musicians, earning $54 million for the year. On Thursday, June 20, McCartney will release a double A-side single featuring two new songs, "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me." McCartney has yet to announce a title of his new album or when it will be released. Th album is expected to be released before he headlines the Austin City Limits Music fest in October.
Water leak at Mandalay Bay convention center
The convention center area of Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas experienced major flooding Tuesday afternoon. Credit: Melinda Cook
Hollywood Memorabilia Up For Grabs at Las Vegas Auction
Elvis Presley's car, Marilyn Monroe's bras, Han Solo's blaster, and Jerry Lewis's "Nutty Professor" suit are just some of the items that are up for auction at Julien's Auctions at Planet Hollywood June 22 and 23. The auction's viewing room at Planet Hollywood is open to the public 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Saturday at Planet Hollywood. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Springs Preserve Exhibit Shows Off "Nature's Ninjas"
"Nature's Ninjas" arrives at the Springs Preserve, in an exhibit and live show featuring critters that come with natural defenses, from armadillos to snakes, poison dart frogs to scorpions and tarantulas (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CrossRoads of Southern Nevada psychiatric urgent care to open in Las Vegas
Jeff Iverson, who operates the nonprofit sober living facility Freedom House, is opening a private addiction treatment center that will operate a detoxification center and transitional living for substance users trying to recover. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser gives update of officer-involved shooting
Metro Capt. Jaime Prosser provides an update about an officer-involved shooting at Radwick Drive and Owens Avenue in the northeast Las Vegas on Thursday. A robbery suspect was shot and killed. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Wayne Newton surprises burglars
Wayne Newton and his wife, Kathleen, arrived at their southeast Las Vegas home shortly before midnight on Wednesday to find two burglars inside their house. The burglars fled and were seen heading north through the property. Las Vegas police quickly set up a perimeter and launched an extensive search of the area, but the suspects were able to escape. It was unclear if the burglars got away with anything of value. Several items, under the watchful eyes of the police, were seen on the ground near the home's main driveway. Neither Newton, nor his wife, were injured. The Newtons were not available for comment.
Police Officers Turn Off Body Cameras
In four separate body camera videos from the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting released Wednesday, officers in a strike team are instructed to turn their body cameras off and comply with the request.
Debra Saunders reports from Singapore
Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent talks about the historic summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un.
How long will North Korea's denuclearization take?
In Singapore, Las Vegas Review-Journal White House correspondent Debra Saunders asks President Donald Trump how long North Korea's denuclearization will take. White House video.
LVCVA purchase of gift cards hidden
A former LVCVA executive hid the purchase of $90,000 in Southwest Airlines gift cards in records at the agency. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, said the money was for promotional events and did not disclose that it was for gift cards. Lawson also instructed Southwest employees to submit invoices without mentioning the purchases were for the cards. More than $50,000 of the cards cannot be accounted for. The convention authority is publicly funded . Lawson recently resigned.
Kim Jong Un visits Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his entourage visited the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore briefly Monday night, local time. (Video by Philip Chope)
Coca-Cola Bottle Purse Has 9,888 Diamonds
Designer Kathrine Baumann and jeweler Aaron Shum set the Guinness World Record for most diamonds (9,888) set on a handbag. The Coca Cola bottle-shaped purse was on display at the Coca Cola Store on the Strip. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sentosa Island a pleasure resort with a pirate past
The site of Tuesday's U.S.-North Korea summit is known for theme parks and resorts. But before that, it was known as a pirate island. (Debra Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Judge Sandra Pomrenze's comment about girl's hair
Nevada Races Full of Women From Both Sides
It's already been a historic election season for women in politics. Record numbers of women are running for political office all over the country - including Nevada. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
East Las Vegas home damaged by fire
Clark County Fire Department crews responded to a house fire in east Las Vegas Thursday morning. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
911 call: Mom tries to get to son shot at Route 91
A woman stuck on the interstate during the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, in Las Vegas, tries to get to her son. 911 call released by Las Vegas police.
Las Vegas 911 caller reports people shot on Oct. 1
A 911 caller on Oct. 1, 2017, reports several people shot at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas.
911 call from woman under stage in Las Vegas shooting
A 911 call from a woman underneath the stage at the Route 91 Harvest festival during the Oct. 1, 2017, Las Vegas shooting.
LVCVA facing scandal over gift cards
LVCVA is facing a growing scandal over airline gift cards. LVCVA bought $90,000 in Southwest Airline gift cards between 2012 and 2017. Now auditors can’t account for more than $50,000 of the cards. CEO Rossi Ralenkotter and his family used $16,207 in gift cards on 56 trips. Brig Lawson, the senior director of business partnerships, was responsible for buying and distributing the cards. He recently resigned.
Siblings separated in the foster care system get a day together
St. Jude's Ranch for Children and Cowabunga Bay Cares program partnered to bring 75 siblings together for the day to play on the water slides and in the pools at the Henderson water park. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People flee the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Las Vegas police released footage from a camera on Mandalay Bay of the Route 91 Harvest festival on Oct. 1, 2017
Aaliyah Inghram awarded medal of courage
Aaliyah Inghram, a 10-year-old girl who was shot while protecting her 18-month-old brother and 4-year-old cousin during a shooting on May 8, awarded medal of courage. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Las Vegans Pack Public Lands Open House
A crowd filled the Clark County Library conference room Tuesday afternoon where Clark County officials hold their first -- and possibly only -- public meeting on plans to open almost 39,000 acres of federal land for development just outside the Las Vegas metropolitan area. County commissioners are set to vote June 19 on a potentially controversial resolution seeking federal legislation that would set aside tens of thousands of acres for conservation while giving Nevada’s largest community more room to grow. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like