Division of Environment Protection to publish public notices only on website

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) will begin publishing all public notices from the Division on its website beginning Aug. 28.

The Division has a number of departments that monitor environment such as air and water quality, and waste management.

To sign up for future notices visit the website at www.ndep.nvgov/posts or call 775-687-4679.

The Division’s move is part of a larger trend that critics say could harm the ability of citizens to stay informed about government and business activities, and for the press to perform its duty to the public. 

Over the years, there have been legislative attempts to move notices from being published in newspapers to digital formats on government websites. 

A variety of bills were introduced in at least ten states during the past year that would eliminate newspaper notice and move it to government websites.

Organizations like the Nevada Press Association (NPA) oppose the move because it makes it more difficult to keep the public fully informed. According to NPA, “Part of our mission, in keeping with our First Amendment responsibility, is to serve as watchdogs on government and ensure the public is informed of issues that affect them directly. Public notices do that.… 

To allow governments to publish notices only to their own websites, which is the trend of much of the legislation being proposed these days, is to remove the accountability, independence, security, archivability and distribution functions that are key to effective notice.”

Rural communities without reliable access to internet will not be as informed as their urban counterparts.

 According to a 2017 US Census Bureau report, between 76% and 79% of households have broadband internet. The 2015 Nevada Broadband Task Force Annual Report to the Governor recognized that “the majority of our rural counties remain underserved or unserved.” It estimated that 65% of Nevada’s rural population is without access as compared to the national average of 39%.

A public notice, or legal ad, is required in most jurisdictions to give notice to the public about proposals before a ruling is made. Such information can include changes in ordinances, election information, water rights, zoning changes, and public hearings. The notice serves as a method for the public to make their opinions known about specific proposals. 

Public notices are usually placed in the newspaper of public record in the county of jurisdiction where the action is to take place. In Humboldt County, the paper of record is The Humboldt Sun; in Lander County it is the Battle Mountain Bugle; and Pershing County, it is the Lovelock Review-Miner. 

To stay informed about public notices contact the Nevada Press Association at 7750-885-0866 or visit their website at www.nevadapress.com.