Rep. Titus, Sen. Cortez Masto Introduce Largest Conservation Bill in Nevada History
Washington, D.C., March 3, 2021 | Kevin Gerson
Representative Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District introduced the largest conservation bill in Nevada history with the support of Representative Mark Amodei of Nevada’s Second Congressional District, Representative Steven Horsford of Nevada’s Fourth Congressional District, Representative Susie Lee of Nevada’s Third Congressional District, and many advocates of environmental protection. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced identical legislation in the Senate.
Washington, D.C. – Today Representative Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District introduced the largest conservation bill in Nevada history with the support of Representative Mark Amodei of Nevada’s Second Congressional District, Representative Steven Horsford of Nevada’s Fourth Congressional District, Representative Susie Lee of Nevada’s Third Congressional District, and many advocates of environmental protection. U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced identical legislation in the Senate.
The Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act will protect over 2 million acres of public land for conservation and recreation while allowing Clark County to develop affordable housing and responsibly plan for expected population growth.
“I’m proud to introduce the largest conservation bill in Nevada’s history,” said Congresswoman Titus (NV-1). “This legislation will protect more of Nevada’s wildlife and natural treasures for generations to come. People across the country are learning something we’ve long known: Southern Nevada is a desirable place to work and live. Today we are demonstrating that it is possible to accommodate Clark County’s population growth while prioritizing affordable housing and the environment.”
“It is vital that we preserve the incredible outdoor spaces that provide immense economic, cultural, and ecological value to Southern Nevada, while also allowing Las Vegas and its surrounding communities to diversify their economies and provide additional affordable housing to Nevada families,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “My legislation will ensure Clark County can do both by laying the ground rules for sustainable expansion and affordable housing development while also addressing the threat of climate change through the largest conservation bill in Nevada history. As Southern Nevada rebuilds its economy after COVID-19 and anticipates adding another 820,000 residents by 2060, we must continue our important conservation and climate change mitigation work so the Valley can continue to be an oasis for Nevadans for centuries to come.”
“In Nevada, everybody realizes that lands bills are a fact of life and that they can be responsible tools for economic development, natural resources management, and conservation,” said Congressman Amodei (NV-2). “This legislation carefully balances each of those priorities and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on Clark County’s land use needs.”
“In 2020, Nevada was the third-fastest growing state in the country. The Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act will ensure there is the proper balance between population growth and economic development while protecting our treasured public lands,” said Congressman Horsford (NV-4). “I’m proud to support this legislation that provides sustainable growth in Clark County that maintains safeguards for effective land management and conservation areas for all Nevadans to enjoy.”
“As the Las Vegas Valley continues to grow, we must continue to work to find common ground that conserves our pristine desert habitats, strengthens our national security, respects the heritage of Nevada’s Native American communities, while also allowing for much-needed development,” said Congresswoman Lee (NV-3). “This plan does just that. This legislation will allow Nevadans to enjoy our beautiful public lands for generations to come, and will also spur economic development in our growing cities, such as Henderson. I’m proud to support this bill alongside so many of my Nevada colleagues in Congress.”
“We are deeply grateful to Senator Cortez Masto and Congresswoman Dina Titus for listening to their constituents who cherish Clark County’s vast public lands and want them protected for generations to come,” said Friends of Nevada Wilderness Executive Director Shaaron Netherton. “This bill would be the single largest designation of Wilderness acres in the state’s history, ensuring continued public access and critical habitat and cultural resource protection on more than 1.6 million acres. After years of leading a collaborative effort to secure permanent protection of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge from military expansions that would impact public access, Friends now looks forward to working with Senator Cortez Masto and the rest of our delegation to get this bill passed and make that protection a reality.”
“This legislation is a bold step towards achieving America’s goal to protect 30% of our land and water by 2030 and help mitigate the climate and biodiversity crises by protecting almost two million acres of public land, including expanded protections for Red Rock Canyon NCA and the Desert National Wildlife Refuge,” said Conservation Lands Foundations Senior Field Director Jocelyn Torres. “This legislation will also provide much needed economic diversification, affordable housing solutions, and a new source of funding for local development and implementation of Nevada’s sustainability and climate initiatives.”
“Clark County - and all of Nevada - must find bold, smart, and sustainable ways to tackle our climate crisis while balancing the future growth of our state and addressing our community's most pressing needs of affordable housing and new jobs,” said Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg. “As the largest conservation bill Nevada has ever seen, Senator Cortez Masto’s and Congresswoman Titus’ landmark legislation addresses the needs of our community while protecting nearly two million acres of public lands and waters, including Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, Desert National Wildlife Refuge, and Lake Mead National Recreation Area.”
“The Pew Charitable Trusts supports the Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act introduced by Sen. Cortez Masto and Rep. Dina Titus,” said Pew Charitable Trusts Project Director John Seebach. “This legislation will permanently protect the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, preserve land critical for endangered species, and make real investments in sustainable growth and climate change initiatives in Clark County. We are grateful to the sponsors of the legislation and to all of the stakeholders who have come together to craft this bill.”
“We are thankful to both Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Congresswoman Dina Titus for their leadership and efforts on this bill,” said Battle Born Progress Executive Director Annette Magnus. “We have seen the Senator listen to people in our communities and made necessary changes from original drafts of the bill to move this legislation in an important direction based on feedback from the community. We have worked on the issues of public lands and protecting special places like Red Rock for many years and we are happy about several elements of this bill which offer additional protection for key areas around Southern Nevada. We also believe the move to be able to use SNPLMA money for climate change mitigation efforts is a critical piece of this legislation.”
“Get Outdoors Nevada is committed to preserving Nevada’s public lands and encouraging Nevadans and visitors from all backgrounds and ages to discover, experience and connect to our state’s natural wonders and vast, unique landscapes,” said Get Outdoors Nevada Executive Director Rachel Bergren. “This legislation addresses key community needs, while offering significant protection for many important natural spaces throughout southern Nevada, from the Desert National Wildlife Refuge to Red Rock Canyon. We are grateful to the sponsors of this legislation and to all those who have contributed to its development.”
“Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument was established in December of 2014 as the 405th unit of the National Park Service to protect the paleontological period from 200,000-300,000 years ago,” said Protectors of Tule Springs Board President Jill DeStefano. “The purpose is to ‘conserve, protect, interpret and enhance for the benefit of present and future generations the unique and nationally important paleontological, scientific, educational and recreational resources and values of the land.’ This important legislation allows this scientific treasure trove to be eligible for SNPLMA funds so that NPS may enhance the visitor experience with the first infrastructure on the Monument. Protectors of Tule Springs support this important change to the original SNPLMA Bill.”
“We are thrilled that this legislation includes a 50,000 acre expansion of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area,” said Save Red Rock Board President Heather Fisher. “Red Rock is southern Nevada’s crown jewel and this bill recognizes how important these public lands are to locals and visitors alike. We thank Senator Cortez Masto and Representative Titus for working with Save Red Rock to make this expansion possible.”
“Last year, it was apparent how much Nevadans value our public lands for our mental and physical health,” said Nevada Wildlife Federation Executive Director Russell Kuhlman. “Taking action to safeguard these landscapes for future generations and the wildlife that inhabits them is essential if we want to pass down our outdoor heritage.”
The Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act: