Rep. Titus, Local Groups Urge Interior Department to Begin Disbursing Grants from Sale of Nevada’s Public Lands

Jun 24, 2020
Press Release

June 24, 2020

Las Vegas, NV – Today Representative Dina Titus of Nevada’s First Congressional District joined with local environmental and business groups in urging Secretary of Interior David Bernhardt to begin disbursing grant funding under the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA). The law requires that funds derived from the sale of federal lands in Clark County be reinvested in the state, primarily through projects evaluated by the Bureau of Land Management and approved by the Secretary of the Interior. SNPLMA has funded over 1,200 local projects, including the renovation of Lorenzi Park and the construction of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area visitor center. 

The Trump Administration’s budget proposals have sought to eliminate SNPLMA funding each year since President Trump took office. In May of 2019, Congresswoman Titus (NV-1) celebrated the Department of Interior’s release of SNPLMA funds after a two-year fight. 

In her letter, Congresswoman Titus writes, “Nevada, and the Las Vegas Valley in particular, has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. We simply cannot afford the unnecessary delay that your agency imposed on our state in the last round of funding.”

Congresswoman Titus also sent Secretary Bernhardt letters urging the Department of Interior to initiate the next round of SNPLMA funding from Get Outdoors Nevada, the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Nevada Resort Association, and other key stakeholders. Several of those letters are available to view here

Below is the full text of the letter from Congresswoman Titus:

 

Dear Secretary Bernhardt, 

I am writing to urge you to initiate the next round of grant funding under the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act (SNPLMA). This landmark law requires that proceeds generated from the auction and sale of public lands in Clark County be reinvested in conservation and recreation projects throughout the state. The majority of these funds are distributed through grants. The 17th and last round of SNPLMA grants closed in May of 2017, and it took over two years for your office to announce the awards. In the ensuing months, lands continued to be sold and today approximately $400 million dollars sit awaiting the next round of grants. 

Nevada, and the Las Vegas Valley in particular, has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. We simply cannot afford the unnecessary delay that your agency imposed on our state in the last round of funding. Investing in our parks and open spaces is crucial, not only for the conservation of our sensitive lands, but also for supporting the outdoor recreation economy which generates over $12.6 billion in annual consumer spending and supports over 87,000 jobs in Nevada alone. 

Enclosed you will find dozens of letters from key stakeholders urging the Department of Interior to commence the 18th Round of SNPLMA grants. These letters represent hundreds of area businesses and thousands of employees including our major resorts and casinos, chambers of commerce, and our homebuilders and developers. They recognize the enormous economic impact of this program and its importance to the quality of life in this region. 

Again, I urge your quick action to initiate the 18th round of SNPLMA grants. I appreciate your attention to this critical issue. Should you or your staff have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Ben Rosenbaum in my Washington office at 202-225-5965. 

Sincerely, 

Dina Titus
Member of Congress