Morros Fears Feds' Retaliation
Misbehavior by U.S. Forest Service
Not Dealt With by Senate Bill 96
Elko Daily Free Press
|Last week's Nevada Attorney General's opinion upholding the constutionality of a 1995 state water law was a mixed blessing for Elko County ranchers.|
law, Senate Bill 96, was passed by the Nevada Legislature
and signed by Gov. Bob Miller in 1995 and amends state
law to prevent anyone who doesn't own livestock from
acquiring stock watering rights.
The law effectively shut out the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in its attempts to acquire those rights.
Even though the law prevents the BLM from acquiring the water rights, the opinion concluded that only the BLM was affected by law and left the U.S. Forest Service free to continue its efforts to secure the rights to Nevada's head waters.
"Making the forest service immune from SB 96 is the majority of the problem in rural Nevada," said Ruby Valley rancher Cliff Gardner. "The forest service is taking the lead in taking adverse action against permitees who won't support their efforts."
The law only applies to the BLM because its language stating 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.
opinion says state law considers those lands managed by
the BLM to be "public lands" as opposed to
those lands managed by the forest service and U.S.
National Parks Service as "reserved lands."
Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, said it's too late for
this legislative session to change the wording in the law
to include the forest service.
influential positions on key committees and
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