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LETTER: Clark County public lands proposal the worst kind of ‘greenwashing’

The Clark County public lands bill proposal would facilitate nearly unlimited sprawl into the deserts outside the Las Vegas Valley while exacerbating climate change, poor air quality and inequality. Some public lands might be protected, but this amounts to the worst kind of greenwashing because these protections accompany such a problematic bill (“Public lands bill could be boon for Southern Nevada,” Nov. 24, Review-Journal commentary).

By earmarking more than 120,000 acres of public land for privatization and development, and congressionally guaranteeing a permit for a total of 300,000 acres, the Las Vegas metropolitan area could double in size, extending all the way to the California line and creating a hellscape of traffic, smog and sprawl. Las Vegas is the fastest-warming city in the country, and yet the bill doesn’t include the words “climate change” or “public transportation.”

The bill is a massive giveaway to developers, and yet it does nothing to address economic injustice. It would double the amount of water users in our valley, but there is no plan for where that water would come from.

The Clark County Commission needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a bill that focuses on smart growth, in-fill development, equity and climate adaptation and resiliency. The current bill would be a disaster for our valley, and no amount of greenwashing can change that.

— Mr. Donnelly is Nevada state director with the Center for Biological Diversity. Ms. Martin is executive director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

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