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Nevada public land giveaways removed from defense spending bill

Your voices and action helped protect critical habitat for desert bighorn sheep, greater sage-grouse, and golden eagles

December 7, 2020

Good news, Guardians! Your collective voices made a big difference for public lands and critical wildlife habitat in Nevada.

On December 3, the U.S. Congress passed the 2021 annual defense spending bill—called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—without including a number of public land giveaways, which threatened critical habitat for desert bighorn sheep, greater sage-grouse, and golden eagles.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada) wanted to amend the Senate’s version of the NDAA to transfer authority over more than 380,000 acres of public lands in northern Nevada from the Bureau of Land Management to the Navy to expand an air station and bombing range. To make matters worse, Senator Cortez Masto also wanted to sell off or give away 100,000 acres of federal public lands in four Nevada counties, with little environmental review and an abridged appraisal process that would have skirted federal standards.

A big thanks to over 3,150 WildEarth Guardians members and supporters who took action and urged your senator on the Armed Services Committee to oppose these public land giveaways.

Congress has a long history of tacking public lands giveaways and sales onto unrelated legislation, especially bills such as the defense spending bill that it must pass every year, so stay tuned as we will need all Guardians to remain vigilant and ready for action when the time comes.

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