A Pershing County resolution on the Navy’s proposed Fallon Range Training Complex expansion into the county was delayed last week as another resolution on the project is being drafted by the Nevada Association of Counties. The NACO letter will address the concerns of all counties that could be impacted by the expansion plan said District Attorney Bryce Shields.
“They (NACO) are putting together a proposal for all of the affected counties. I thought it might be prudent to wait for that resolution. Dagny (Stapleton) sent an email to Carol and I asking for comments and I provided comments yesterday. I thought they did a really good job in collecting and synthesizing all the counties’ concerns for the Governor’s Office.”
Shields said he would like Pershing County’s resolution to reflect the NACO resolution.
“I want to make sure that whatever is in our resolution mirrors what is in front of the Governor,” he said. “I think that’s going to probably be very effective to have the Governor’s Office supporting what the counties support.”
Commissioner Rob McDougal reminded the board that Congressman Mark Amodei had requested a resolution specifically outlining the concerns of Pershing County.
“If I was writing a resolution today, I would say that I oppose the Navy’s expansion unless and until they respond positively to the concerns of our county which they haven’t done,” he said. “They’ve simply ignored (Pershing County concerns) and it’s tremendously frustrating.”
If the B-20 bombing range is expanded as proposed north into Pershing County, the Navy would take over thousands of acres of private and public land and close Bombing Range Road/Pole Line Road eliminating county road access to mining, grazing, hunting and recreation areas.
“Because of the way they have not been responsive directly to our concerns and they seem to think that there’s no economic impact on our county, I’m not trusting what they’re telling me yet,” McDougal said.
“You are not alone,” said Commission Chairman Larry Rackley and Commissioner Carol Shank.
Basin and Range Watch listed some of the other impacts in a November, 2018 statement.
“The US Navy proposes to transfer over 700,000 acres of public land to the military range at Fallon. They will bomb sage grouse habitat, pronghorn habitat, bighorn sheep and Wilderness Study Areas. The bombs will leave toxic residue. Potentially over 60,000 acres of private land will need to be taken too...Parts of the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge would be taken.”
Sheriff Jerry Allen told county leaders he now has two sheriff’s deputy positions to fill as more of his deputies accepted better paying law enforcement jobs in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County.
“I’ll be losing two deputies, one by the end of the month, one by November,” he said. “They have testing mid September, we have two that have responded out of the five that we sent applications to. I have a Cat 1 reserve that is going to help us out on a temporary basis.”
There were thousands of people on the playa days before the festival gates opened making the Burning Man event longer than the eight-day schedule specified in the settlement agreement between Pershing County and Black Rock City, now known as the Burning Man Project.
“We’re deep in the throes of Burning Man. I was out there yesterday trying to set up our network, a few glitches there,” Allen said. “They are reporting they already have 3,000 people out there. It looks like a lot more than that but that’s the number they are reporting.”
A vehicle seized from a convicted drug dealer will be used for future drug investigations, Allen said. The vehicle cannot be used for patrol, transports or other law enforcement activities.
“It has to be used under the confines of whatever the seizure law is so we have to use it for the furtherance of drug investigations and those kind of things,” Allen explained.
The Bureau of Land Management’s transfer of the Unionville Cemetery to Pershing County has been delayed for an unknown time frame due to revisions to the agreement. The transfer was expected to be signed and published in the Federal Register, the final step in a long process.
Realty Specialist Debbie Dunham of the BLM Winnemucca District, Division of Cultural, Lands and Recreation, emailed a brief notice to the county.
“Per the Nevada State Office (NSO) and the Washington Office (W.O.), I was requested to revise the NORA (Notice of Realty Action) documents to reflect a recent Secretarial Order (SO) - 3373 and a segregation clause,” Dunham states in the August 16 notification.
On March 21, 2019, Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt signed Secretarial Order 3373 “directing that the BLM adequately weigh public access for recreation - including hunting and fishing - when determining the appropriateness of the disposal or exchange of public lands,” states a Department of the Interior press release.
U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto will appear before the Pershing County Commission in the commission room at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, August 28. The meeting is open to the public.