Approximately eighty-seven percent of the land in Nevada is federally-owned. The Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act was an innovative law that authorized the proceeds from land sales in Nevada to be used to build parks and trails, acquire environmentally sensitive land, maintain the Clark County Multi-Species Habitat Conservation Plan and improve the clarity of Lake Tahoe. Funds are also allocated for water infrastructure and education programs in the State of Nevada. I will continue to work with the entire Nevada delegation to ensure that these funds are used to to improve our State and benefit all Nevadans.
We must protect our natural resources and open spaces so they can be enjoyed for generations to come. I have fought to enhance and protect our southern Nevada treasures -- Red Rock Canyon, Lake Tahoe, and Sloan Canyon -- as well as our country's national parks, such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Great Basin and the Grand Canyon. Additionally, I am opposed the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil exploration. Commercial development of these natural wonders threatens the wildlife living in these areas.
Protection of wildlife is imperative in Nevada and in other parts of the country. Since 1973, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has guided state and federal government agencies as well as private landowners in how to protect threatened and endangered species. It is important to modernize the ESA to guarantee the continued protection of endangered species through a collaborative effort between the federal government and private landowners. However, modernization shouldn't weaken current protections or create a new entitlement spending program that would benefit developers at the taxpayers' expense.
Clean air and water are fundamental to our health and quality of life. The Bush Administration has moved forward with proposals to weaken landmark laws, such as the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. I support efforts to limit harmful emissions which cause global warming and to protect Americans from hazardous mercury pollution, which contaminates our air and water.
Population growth and changing lifestyles have increased demands on water supplies and river systems, particularly in the West. The Colorado River System is facing its worst drought in 500 years Water levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell are at or near historic lows. It is crucial we take all available steps to conserve water and to maximize its reuse.
I have introduced the Water Conservation Incentive Act, H.R. 524, which provides a federal tax credit to individuals and small businesses for the installation of water conservation items, including low-flow shower heads and toilets and water efficient landscaping, in homes or businesses. Individuals are eligible for up to a $1000 tax credit and small businesses may apply for a credit covering up to 10% of their water conservation item expenditures.