EDITORIAL: Public land transfers

Washington controls far too much land in Nevada — about 86 percent of the state — and puts far too many restrictions on its use. Nevada’s economy would be far stronger and far more diverse if much of that federal land was under state or local control or, even better, transferred to private ownership.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took a small step forward in reducing the federal government’s land holdings this month by introducing two bills that would release about 120,000 acres to state Indian tribes, including more than 26,000 acres for the Moapa Band of Paiutes outside Las Vegas.

“Land is lifeblood to Native Americans, and this bill provides space for housing, economic development, traditional uses and cultural protection,” Reid said in a statement.

Indeed, land is lifeblood to all Nevadans. Sen. Reid acknowledged as much by including in one bill a 275-acre transfer to the city of Elko for a motorcross park.

We hope this is just a start. Sen. Reid has the power to release far more land from Washington’s grip. The Bureau of Land Management has demonstrated it’s not capable of adequately overseeing the bulk of the state. And all Nevada counties would benefit from having more land on their property tax rolls.

Sen. Reid, keep those land transfer bills coming.

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