weather icon Clear

BLM largely ignores desired airport

Scarce mention of the Pahrump airport is made in the resource management plan proposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, but that doesn’t mean the project is dead.

The only mention of the Pahrump airport site on the list of public land proposed for disposal for development on 3 million acres of public land for the next 20 years is Alternative 4, the most pro-development alternative.

Mark Tanaka-Sanders, assistant field manager for the bureau’s Pahrump Field Office, said the Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an environmental impact statement on the Pahrump airport project that’s separate from their resource management plan currently open for public comment.

The bureau is a cooperating agency on the administration study, he said.

“(The FAA study) may be completed before the final (resource management plan) is published,” Tanaka-Sanders said. “At this point no decisions have been made. All options are on the table for the public to look at at this point. If the (plan) isn’t done by the time the FAA is ready to go, then the Pahrump airport environmental impact statement they’re working on, that can amend the (plan).”

Tanaka-Sanders said the lack of mention does not mean the airport is not on the bureau’s radar.

“The idea for an airport is in there,” said Tanaka-Sanders, referring to the resource management plan. “There’s things like mesquite and buckwheat that need to be protected and one of those is through an (Areas of Critical Environmental Concern). We want to make sure no species get listed.

“The (plan) is just trying to leave room for an airport to go somewhere in Pahrump that would be the least impact to the environment.”

Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said the town prefers Alternative 4, but wonders why the bureau is barely mentioning the airport.

“(The BLM) have known about that since the late 80s,” Holecheck said. “I don’t know why it’s not on the disposal list. We’re still trying to figure out why they did what they did.”

The BLM previously asked the town to move an access road to the airport five miles north because of a mesquite grove, which will require more bore testing and soil samples, Holecheck said. She said consultants Landrum and Brown, drawing up the environmental impact study for the Federal Aviation Administration, could even propose a new airport site.

Tanaka-Sanders said Alternative 3 is drawn around the site originally identified for a Pahrump airport. But he said, “when they get the environmental impact statement done for the airport itself they’ll be determining where the airport will actually be.”

The preferred Alternative 3 proposes offering 16 sites totaling 42,513 acres of public land for disposal. In addition, that alternative proposes to designate 20 new Areas of Critical Environmental Concern. One of them would be the 41,770 acre Pahrump Valley Mesquite Woodland, located on the southwest side of Pahrump Valley, near the airport site which straddles the California state line. That area would be set aside to protect neotropical bird habitat, the Pahrump Valley buckwheat and relic plant communities.

A Pahrump Town Board member would like to see the current planned area of the airport remain.

“The BLM would like us to move the airport to a different location,” Bob Adams said . “I don’t know why. I can’t think of a better location.”

On another aspect of the plan, most of the wilderness areas proposed in the resource management plan are added in Clark County. Adams said public land advocates have been trying to reduce the Mount Sterling Wilderness Area but instead the new plan suggests expanding it.

He had butterflies in his stomach over this resource management plan and what it could put into effect.

“That’s scary because of what (the bureau) can do administratively,” Adams said. “In the past it took Congress to do that.”

Holecheck said she was meeting with federal officials and representatives this week to discuss the town’s concerns.

“I think the thing is there’s going to be appeals probably on all of this,” she said. “We are going to file our comments for Alternative 4, we meaning the town.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Belvada Hotel opens for business

What once was a dilapidated eyesore in the town of Tonopah is no more, with the historic Belvada building transformed into a brand new hotel that is now open and ready for business.

Senior Menus

Pahrump Senior Center

Man dies after Highway 160 collision in Nye

A possible medical condition is believed to be the cause of a two-vehicle crash along the 900 block of Highway 160 on Wednesday, Jan. 13, just after 10 a.m., where one driver died.

Wild horses stroll through the Calvada Eye

On most mornings, Pahrump resident Joe Proenza enjoys a solitary, leisurely walk with his dog Oliver at the Calvada Eye, but just recently he had some additional company, in the form of wild horses at that location.

Nevada Guard will join law enforcement at inauguration

More than 200 Nevada National Guard soldiers and airmen are set to assist federal law enforcement in the days prior to and during the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. in Washington, D.C.

House votes to impeach Trump for second time

The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time for inciting a violent mob to storm the Capitol and confront lawmakers — an insurrection that left five people dead.

Training offered for green industries online

As part of the Green Industry Continuing Education Series, University of Nevada, Reno Extension is offering a series of online, entry-level classes for those wishing to become nursery worker certified. The workshops will include topics important to green industry professionals, including landscapers, nursery workers and groundskeepers.

Woman run over by her own vehicle in parking lot

A woman is recovering from injuries suffered after she was run over by her own vehicle at the Green Valley Grocery convenience store on Highway 372 near Blagg Road last Tuesday, Jan. 5th.