Governor Signs Dark Skies Bill!
Senate Bill 52, a bill to help promote and preserve Nevada's uniquely dark skies, moved through the Nevada Legislature with bipartisan support and has been signed by the Governor! It was championed by Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall and the new Nevada Office of Outdoor Recreation.
Thanks to all of you who logged on to the Legislature's website to voice your support for the bill - your action made a difference!
The new state program will complement the Dark Sky designations that are granted by the International Dark Sky Association (IDA). Nevada is already home to two IDA Dark Sky Places; Great Basin National Park is a Dark Sky Park, and the Massacre Rim Wilderness Study Area in far northern Washoe County is an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, one of only 14 in the world. Bill sponsors say the intent of the proposal is to amplify and celebrate the work of the IDA by creating a state-level dark sky designation, to educate the public about the value of conserving Nevada’s uniquely dark skies, and to promote stargazing to boost tourism in rural communities.
Governor Steve Sisolak signs SB52, the Dark Skies bill, with Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall and State Senator Donate Fabian looking on.
Now, keep reading for more information about the conservation agenda in the 2021 Nevada Legislature and bills and resolutions we urge you to support.
On March 3, 2021 Senator Cortez Masto and Congresswoman Titus along with the entire Nevada delegation introduced the Southern Nevada Economic Development and Conservation Act (S 567 and HR 1597) that will provide permanent protection for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. 1.3 million acres are to be designated as Wilderness and will be strong protection from military expansion further into the refuge!
This giant step forward is only possible because of all the support we have received from you. The fight will continue and we still need your support for the final push to protect the bighorn and all the other creatures that call the Desert Refuge home. With your help we have created awareness with our #dontbombthebighorn social media campaign, taken our elected officials and their staff on tours, worked with great photographers to showcase the beauty and importance of the refuge through images, partnered with BackCounty Pictures for the production of the amazing Desert Refuge videos, walked the halls in Washington DC talking to our delegation and key, attended many meetings, reviewed, analyzed and commented on the NTTR LEIS, and helped form a large coalition with national regional and local groups all fighting for the refuge.
BREAKING NEWS There will be no military expansion into the Stillwater Range and surrounding public lands at least for now.
At the end of 2020, Congress voted in support of the National Defense Authorization Act in early December and the negotiated language was a 25-year status quo extension of what the Fallon Training Range Complex currently has. President Trump vetoed the NDAA and Congress overrode his veto at the end of the year.
Friends of Nevada Wilderness has been proud to work with members of the Nevada delegation, the Pershing County Commission and many stakeholders to advance a comprehensive lands bill for Pershing County that aims to conserve important areas as wilderness and provide economic development for the County. Passage of this bill will ensure the permanent protection of 136,072 acres of Wilderness, while also providing tools to help resolve the checkerboard land issue. Several versions of the bill have been introduced into Congress over the last 5 years and we are hopeful that 2021 will be the year this important bill passes.
Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act
Here is a link to the previous bill from the last Congress. It has not yet been reintroduced in 2021.
After the public meetings in early 2020, the Truckee Meadows Public Land Management Act process faded away because of COVID 19 and the need to address critically important issues for public health and safety. We anticipate that later in 2021 this process will move forward again and we will keep our supporters up-to-date on new developments. Wilderness protections for all the wonderful areas in Washoe County remain a high priority for Friends of Nevada Wilderness.