Parks and Lands Bills: H.R. 2299

Statement for the Record

United States Department of the Interior

House Committee on Natural Resources Committee

Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands

H.R. 2299, Southern Nevada Limited Transition Area Act

July 15, 2008

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on H.R. 2299, the Southern Nevada Limited Transition Area Act. H.R. 2299 would convey without consideration approximately 502 acres of BLM public lands, defined in the bill as the "transition area," to the City of Henderson, Nevada, for economic development adjacent to the Henderson Executive Airport. The BLM recognizes the extensive residential growth occurring in the City of Henderson and understands the need for the City to plan land use in such a way that development around the Henderson Executive Airport is compatible with the nature of airport operations. During consideration of similar legislation in the 109th Congress (S. 1056), we raised several concerns. The BLM greatly appreciates the work of the sponsors of the bill to address those concerns, as reflected in the text of H.R. 2299. We support H.R. 2299 as introduced.

H.R. 2299 establishes development areas around the Henderson Executive Airport similar to the Airport Environs Overlay District - otherwise known as the McCarran Airport Cooperative Management Area (CMA) - established by the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA), Public Law 105-263, that ensures compatible development around McCarran Airport. The public lands proposed for conveyance in H.R. 2299 are directly west and south of the Henderson Executive Airport, which is east of Interstate-15 and north of the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. These lands are within the disposal boundary established in SNPLMA and have been identified for disposal by the BLM as part of SNPLMA's land disposal process.

H.R. 2299 directs the City of Henderson to plan and manage the lands for nonresidential development, and requires that any development comport with noise compatibility requirements defined in section 47504 of title 49, United States Code. The bill permits the City of Henderson to sell any portions of the conveyed lands for nonresidential development through a competitive bidding process, but for not less than fair market value, and subject to the noise compatibility requirements. The City of Henderson may also elect to retain parcels for recreation or other public purposes consistent with the Recreation and Public Purposes Act.

The revenue generated from any sales of the lands by the City of Henderson would be distributed consistent with the provisions of Section 4(e)(1) of SNPLMA, which allow for the deposit of 85 percent of the proceeds from land sales into the Special Account; 10 percent paid directly to the Southern Nevada Water Authority; and 5 percent paid directly to the State of Nevada for use in the general education program of the State.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to work with the sponsors of this bill in addressing our various concerns, including modifications relative to the terms and conditions of future land sales by the City of Henderson; the reversionary language; and the revised map. We support H.R. 2299 and efforts to appropriately plan for development around the Henderson Executive Airport.

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