Congressman Horsford introduces bill to protect Desert Refuge

November 7 – Congressman Steven Horsford (NV-04) introduced legislation to allow the U.S. Air Force to place vital training equipment for the Nevada Test and Training Range within small tracts of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. The bill would also permanently protect over 700,000 acres of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge as wilderness to ensure those lands remain accessible for hunting, recreation, and wildlife management.

Congresswomen Susie Lee (NV-03) and Dina Titus (NV-01) joined as original cosponsors. 

Allowing the placement of electronic threat emitters is a top priority for the U.S. Air Force because it will provide pilots with realistic air combat training to combat threats encountered in a potential conflict with a near-peer adversary.

“Nevada provides a crucial training ground to prepare our Air Force for the future,” said Congressman Horsford. “As we update the Nevada Test and Training Range to prepare our servicemembers for challenges they may face in combat, we are also working to preserve the pristine wilderness that many Nevadans enjoy today.”

“Nevada has long been a leader in both the conservation of public lands and national security,” said Congresswoman Susie Lee. “I’m proud to join my Nevada colleagues in introducing this key legislation, which is an important step in ensuring that our public lands are protected for all Nevadans and that the U.S. military is fully equipped to meet and deter the global threats of today and tomorrow.”

“The Nevada Test and Training Range in Southern Nevada is a key component of our nation's military readiness,” said Congresswoman Titus. “This bill will bolster its effectiveness during this complex era of geopolitics by supporting the Air Force's mission while upholding our commitment to protect Nevada's treasured public lands and wildlife.”

“Friends of Nevada Wilderness is thankful for Congressman Horsford’s years of fighting to protect the Desert National Wildlife Refuge to help keep this amazing area open to the public and its habitat intact for our state animal, the bighorn sheep,” said Shaaron Netherton, executive director. “The Congressman has found a way to provide the Air Force what they need for national security while ensuring conservation for the refuge. A win-win solution.”

The proposal would:

  • Ensure the U.S. Air Force can provide pilots with realistic air combat training by installing 15 threat emitters on Air Force-managed land and within certain areas of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Establish permanent protections and protect public access to 736,000 acres of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge by designating it as wilderness.

Press release.

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