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BLM puts Resource Management Plan on hold

The Bureau of Land Management has taken a pause on the Resource Management Plan under which Nye County could get thousands of acres of new land.

Nye and Clark counties have requested new lands beyond what is currently available for disposal in the 1998 Las Vegas RMP. The cities of Mesquite, Henderson, North Las Vegas, and Las Vegas have also requested additional lands for disposal.

The BLM’s Las Vegas and Pahrump field offices are conducting a revision of the 1998 plan. The revision provides management direction on resource issues that need clarification or adjustment, and emerging issues that are not addressed in the current plan and need new management and guidance, according to the BLM’s website.

John Asselin, a public affairs specialist for the BLM Southern Nevada District, said the agency decided to relook and reassess the comments that it had received from the public and cooperating agencies.

“After we have reassessed the comments, we will return to working on the RMP. At this time we do not have a timeline prepared for the completion of the RMP,” Asselin said.

The planning area is located in southern Nevada and includes all of the public lands managed by the Las Vegas Field Office within Clark County and all public lands managed by the Pahrump Field Office in southern Nye County, according to the BLM’s website.

Land disposal areas in the Resource Management Plan would be for landfills or shooting ranges or sale to the public, Nye County Planning Department Director Darrell Lacy said.

“We ask for land in areas mainly adjacent to existing towns, to fill in checkerboard areas or provide large tracts for things like solar energy that need large parcels. We have a lot of vacant land in Pahrump but very few parcels larger than 200 acres,” Lacy said.

Asselin said the BLM is still reviewing the various alternatives in the plan in light of input from the general public and various cooperating agencies, including the importance of land availability for economic development in Nye County.

While the county may ask for tens of thousands of acres of land, Lacy said it only expects to acquire a few thousand.

“We just don’t know which parcel someone will want. The BLM is concerned that if all 50,000 acres are sold and developed, it may increase water use and have an adverse impact on the Devil’s Hole pupfish and Ash Meadows,” Lacy said.

Asselin said if Nye County wants to acquire BLM-administered public land identified for disposal in BLM’s land use plan, it has to submit a land sale nomination application. “Public lands are not sold at less than fair market value, unless otherwise provided for by law,” he said.

Additionally, Lacy said there are Environmental Impact Statement and the National Environmental Policy Act processes underway for Nellis Air Force Base, the Nevada Test and Training Range and Naval Air Station Fallon to withdraw additional land.

More than 95 percent of Nye County’s 18,000 square miles is controlled by the federal government, including the Nevada National Security Site, BLM and the National Park Service.

The Bureau of Land Management will meet in Pahrump on Thursday with the Mojave-Southern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council to discuss public lands issues.

Discussion items will include target shooting on public lands, a possible recreation fee increase at the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, and wild horses, according to the press release.

The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22 in the Nye County Commission Chambers, 2100 East Walt Williams Drive. A public comment period is scheduled at 11:45 a.m.

Contact reporter Daria Sokolova at dsokolova@pvtimes.com. On Twitter: @dariasokolova77

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