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Bill to transfer federal land to Yerington progresses

A bill that would transfer some federal lands to city ownership in Yerington and Fernley unanimously passed the House Natural Resources Committee Wednesday.

The Northern Nevada Land Conservation and Economic Development Act combines seven bills introduced by Representatives Mark Amodei and Steven Horsford.

The act would allow the city of Yerington to buy more than 10,000 acres of land currently overseen by the Bureau of Land Management for the fair market value price. Lyon County Manager Jeff Page says the city could then sell the property to Nevada Copper which would run an open-pit mining operation, bringing 13-hundred jobs to the county.

"I realize it's a lands bill," Page says, "but the reality of the situation is that it's more about jobs. We went from the fastest growing county to the highest unemployed county in the nation for awhile, so this is huge for not only Lyon county but the region."

The legislation heads to the House floor in September.

Senators Dean Heller and Harry Reid have already introduced a companion act to allow Yerington to make this federal land purchase. It passed the Senate's Committee on Energy and Natural Resources last fall.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.