Task Force works to gather facts

The Nevada Land Management Task Force will hold a public meeting on Dec. 6 in Las Vegas. Created by AB 227 during the 2013 Nevada Legislative session, the Task Force is researching the possible transfer of public lands from the federal government to the state.

The Task Force features representatives from all 17 counties in Nevada, including White Pine County Commissioner Laurie Carson.

“One thing that has been really interesting about all of this, and I’m speaking strictly for myself, is I don’t have any preconceived ideas,” Carson said. “We’re on the fact finding phase and getting all the information. Right now, I don’t know where it’s going to end up at the finish line.”

The Task Force will prepare a presentation in 2014 and will report to Nevada’s lawmakers during the 2015 legislative session. During the Task Force’s first few meetings, Carson said they’ve been working to identify the various issues involved in a state takeover of public lands and what issues need to be addressed, including if counties want to request all public lands be turned over, or just some of it.

“Each county will do their own identification of what they want,” Carson said. “This involves all public lands. We’re talking Department of Energy, forestry, BLM, national parks and wilderness and with that come all the other issues like horses and sage grouse. We will inherit every single bit of that. There are some counties that think let’s take it all back. I don’t think right here in White Pine when I’ve been working with PLUAC and the planning commission that that’s necessarily the same goal.”

But as the Task Force works to sort out the various issues facing the state, from an economic analysis to sorting out easements and right of ways that exist on public lands, Carson said the process has been a large one to grasp.

“Some of what we had is we’ve come up with more questions of what we need to look at to even see what kind of an end product we have,” Carson said. “Right now we’re gathering and looking and being sure that we’ve covered everything. The easements, the right of ways, we have to stop and think about I and it’s monumental. So these first couple of meetings is just trying to wrap your head around how involved it’s going to be and we don’t have much time.”

Among the numerous issues being looked at include the interplay between the State and the counties in running and controlling the public lands available.

“There is concern of how much input and control will the county have if those lands are run by the state,” Carson said.

The Nevada Public Lands Management Task Force will hold a public meeting on Dec. 6 at the RTC building in Las Vegas.

And while getting all the information necessary for its report to the Nevada legislature in a year may be a daunting task, the Task Force will find a way to make sure it’s report on the possible transfer of public lands to the state will be finished.

“It has to be,” Carson said. “That’s the job that we’ve been tasked to do and that’s the job we’re going to do.”

As the Nevada Land Management Task Force works toward completing its goal, Carson said this initiative is something that will impact the state for years to come and is something that everyone involved knows is important going forward.

“I think that this is historic,” Carson said. “I feel fortunate to be a part of it to tell you the truth…I’m confident it’ll work out. We’ve had representatives from all 17 of our counties and everybody is willing to do the work. There’s no way you can’t, it’s too important.”

 

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