S. 1608 and H.R. 815 - Public Lands Bills

Statement of

Michael Nedd, Assistant Director

Minerals, Realty and Resource Protection

Bureau of Land Management

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests

S. 1608, Southern Nevada Readiness Center Act

September 20, 2007

Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on S. 1608, the Southern Nevada Readiness Center Act. S. 1608 would convey without consideration between 35 and 50 acres of land from Clark County, Nevada, to the Nevada Division of State Lands for use by the Nevada National Guard for defense and security training. All right, title, and interest to these lands was conveyed by the BLM to Clark County, Nevada, in 1999, as directed by Section 4(g) of the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act of 1998 (SNPLMA), for inclusion in the McCarran Airport Cooperative Management Area (CMA).

The CMA was established in 1992 through an agreement between Clark County and BLM to manage development around McCarran Airport, which services the greater Las Vegas area. As directed by SNPLMA, approximately 5,000 acres of public lands was conveyed by the BLM to Clark County for inclusion in the CMA boundary. SNPLMA requires that Clark County manage the lands in the CMA in accordance with 49 U.S.C. 47504, relating to airport noise compatibility planning, so that development in the CMA is compatible with the nature of airport operations. Further, section (4)(g) of SNPLMA requires that any conveyance of CMA lands by Clark County be for fair market value, and the revenue distributed according to the formula outlined in Section (4)(g) of SNPLMA.

The BLM is mindful that S. 1608 conveys the CMA lands from one public entity to another for important national defense and security purposes. In balancing these considerations against the provisions of SNPLMA that require the sale of CMA lands for fair market value, the BLM supports the bill and the conveyance of the CMA lands for no consideration. However, we suggest that the bill be amended to include a provision that if the State of Nevada ceases to use the lands for the purpose intended in S. 1608, the lands revert to the County to be managed consistent with the provisions of SNPLMA.

We also recommend an amendment to correct the acreage identified in S. 1608 from “between 35 and 50 acres” to “approximately 51 acres.”

Thank you for the opportunity to testify on S. 1608. We look forward to working with the sponsor and the Committee on this important piece of legislation.

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