Water Rights Fight
Nevada Attorney General's Legal Opinion
Sides with Cowboys Against Clintonistas
Elko Daily Free Press
|A Nevada Attorney General's opinion released Wednesday shot down a major provision of the Clinton Administration's proposed 'range land reform' agenda by upholding the constitutionality of a 1995 state law.|
|The law was designed to blocks
efforts by the Bureau of Land Management to gain control
of Nevada water rights.
The 34-page opinion, written by Deputy Attorney General George Taylor, holds that the BLM cannot hold stock watering rights because the BLM does not own livestock.
The law states the watering permits and certificates of appropriations are limited to those applicants who are "legally entitled to place the livestock on the public lands for which the permit is being sought." The bill amended several provisions in Nevada Revised Statute 533.
But because of the language in Senate Bill 96, the law only applies to the BLM.
The opinion says state law considers those lands managed by the BLM to be "public lands" as opposed to those lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. National Parks Service as "reserved lands." Pete Morros, director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, asked for the opinion. Morros said today he has not had a chance to read the document and will comment later.
State Sen. Dean Rhoads of Tuscarora, the bill's author, said the opinion is history-making.
really is amazing that the opinion came out the way it
did," Rhoads said today from his legislative office
in Carson City. "The attorney general normally goes
with the federal government on these types of
issues." Rhoads said the implementation of the law
will be felt all the way to Washington, D.C.
reform and federal
interference in state issues, said he was surprised by
the opinion, considering its source.
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