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The Nevada Independent

After two-year fight, Titus celebrates commitment of $106 million for public lands projects

Humberto Sanchez
Humberto Sanchez
Dina Titus speaks during the Nevada Democratic Party election night event at Caesar Palace in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.

Rep. Dina Titus cheered the commitment of $106 million announced by the Department of Interior on Wednesday to support 47 public lands projects throughout Nevada and the California side of the Lake Tahoe Basin, funds she has been calling for since 2017.

“This commitment of over $100 million to improve Southern Nevada’s recreational parks, conservation efforts, and wildlife protection is outstanding news,” Titus said in a release. “I fought the Trump Administration for two years to give us this money that is rightfully ours. While President Trump’s budget would’ve eliminated this funding, I will continue to defend Southern Nevada’s residents and visitors who chose to hike, swim, and play in our parks and open spaces.”

Projects include $1 million for Pueblo Trail enhancements in Henderson, $6.9 million for improvements to the Hoover Dam visitor center and $1.1 million for improvements to the Lincoln County Fairgrounds Recreation Park located in Panaca. A list of round 17 projects can be found here.

According to an agency press release, the entities receiving funds include: the City of North Las Vegas, White Pine County, City of Las Vegas, Clark County, Lincoln County, City of Henderson, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District.

The funds were committed under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA), a 1998 law that requires that funds derived from the sale of federal lands in Clark County be returned to the community 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 renovation of Lorenzi Park and the construction of the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area visitor center, according to Titus’ office

Titus’ most recent overture was in March to then acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt urging him to follow the law and commit the funds. The letter said that the secretary had 58 recommended projects as of September 2017, which were subject to a 45-day public comment period.

“In the nearly two years since, the Office of the Secretary has failed to carry out its responsibility to fund any of the 58 projects recommended by the Nevada State Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM),” the letter said. “All the while, the BLM continues to auction off lands within the SNPLMA disposal boundary, generating millions of dollars that, by law, are supposed to be returned to be invested in the State of Nevada.”

She had previously written a letter on the issue to former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in June 2017.

Department of Interior officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

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