Dark Skies Bill
Senate Bill 52, a bill to help promote and preserve Nevada's uniquely dark skies, is moving quickly through the Nevada Legislature. It has passed the Senate unanimously and has moved to the Assembly and we need you to act now to help make sure it passes!
Please submit your opinion here - and provide all the requested information. Legislators look at these results! You are also encouraged to make one-on-one contact with your own representatives by email. Find out who your state Senator and Assembly member are, then shoot them a quick email thanking your Senator for supporting SB52 and asking your Assembly member to support Nevada’s amazing dark skies! And thank YOU for taking action today!
If approved and signed by the governor, the new state program would 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.
Language in SB52 recognizes the wide-ranging value of dark skies, which are prevalent in Nevada, where much of the land in the state is publicly owned
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!
At the end of 2020 we had great news temporarily protection the Desert Refuge.
There will be no military expansion into the Desert Refuge this year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.
Congress voted in support of the NDAA in early December and the negotiated language was a 25-year status quo extension of what the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR) currently has. President Trump vetoed the NDAA and Congress overrode his veto at the end of the year.
A HUGE thanks for the years of support getting us to this point. “We welcome this news with a mix of great relief and lingering anxiety. We are incredibly grateful to our Congressional delegation, particularly Senator Cortez Masto and Congressman Horsford, for helping to deny any Nevada military facility expansion onto public lands in the 2020 NDAA. At the same time, we know this is a temporary reprieve. The military will not back down from its desire to take over valuable habitat like the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and fence out the public. But we won’t back down from our goal which has always been to secure permanent protection for and access to our public lands that remain abundantly wild and retain the highest of conservation values.” We will build on that victory and prepare with even greater energy and resolve for the next round, which we know is coming. The military will be back, and so will we.”
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.