LINCOLN COUNTY CONSERVATION, RECREATION, AND DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 2004 -- (House of Representatives - November 17, 2004)
Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and concur in the Senate amendment to the bill (H.R. 4593) to establish wilderness areas, promote conservation, improve public land, and provide for the high quality development in Lincoln County, Nevada, and for other purposes.
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Ms. BERKLEY. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Congresswoman for her courtesy and her help with this legislation.
I rise today in strong support of the Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act of 2004. I would like to thank Senator Reid and Senator Ensign and my House colleagues, the gentleman from Nevada (Mr. Gibbons), and the gentleman from Nevada (Mr. Porter) for their tireless efforts in reaching a compromise on this bipartisan legislation that is important to all Nevadans.
I would also like to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Pombo) for his leadership and especially acknowledge the gentleman from West Virginia (Mr. Rahall), a truly good friend who worked with the Nevada delegation to reach this compromise.
The Nevada delegation worked diligently with the people of Lincoln County, the environmental community, wilderness groups, ranchers and officials in southern Nevada to carefully craft this piece of legislation. While every group did not get every provision they wanted in the bill, this is a compromise we are all proud of.
This bill is well-balanced. It will help Lincoln County flourish and create economic opportunities for its citizens. Lincoln County officials and residents will be able to develop their community and expand their financial base. Protecting Nevada's environment is very important to me, and this allows for development without jeopardizing Nevada's precious resources.
The Federal Government owns over 98 percent of the land in Lincoln County. This restricts vital economic growth for the area. Allowing for private development will give the people of Lincoln County a way to increase prosperity for themselves and their children.
The Bureau of Land Management will only auction off approved lands. Lincoln County will use the proceeds from land sales to preserve parks, trails and natural resources Nevadans utilize and the natural beauty Nevadans have grown to love.
Nearly 770,000 acres of land will be designated as wilderness. This will protect treasured sites important to Native Americans in Nevada and rich in archaeological artifacts such as petroglyphs. The Nevada desert is also home to many species of wildlife, such as the sage grouse and desert tortoise.
Nevada is facing an unprecedented challenge as a result of a 5-year drought affecting the Colorado River Basin. This bill provides for additional water resources in southern Nevada which are desperately needed.
I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation. I appreciate their support and their help.
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