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Bundy situation reignites land rights debate in Nevada

Reported by: Kelsey Thomas
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Updated: 4/27 11:54 am

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Despite his recent comments, Cliven Bundy has reignited the debate about federal power and land rights. The federal government controls most of the land in Nevada.

Nevada lawmakers are in Tonopah discussing a state land takeover. They say Nevada would profit, but it would impact everyone who lives here.

The idea is simple; when we own our land, we can do what we want with it.

But a takeover wouldn't be easy, and would impact anyone who uses federal land, from loggers to hikers to fishermen.

“Most of the land you do see is vacant is BLM-owned,” said Nat Hodgson, CEO for Southern Nevada Homebuilders' Association.

Hodgson wants to see more of that land transferred to the state, and then sold to private developers to build housing communities.

“If the lack of land continues, it’s just going to continue driving up the cost of homes, putting most families out of the market,” Hodgson said.

In Nevada, 86 percent of the land is controlled by the government.

A group of Nevada lawmakers, who met in Tonopah this week, have been charged with figuring out a way to take that land back.

“It would be an opportunity for us to make a lot more decisions,” said Demar Dahl with the Nevada Public Land Management Task Force.

Decisions about how to manage the land could translate into an economic boost, Dahl said.

“Our recommendation is any valid existing rights, whether that’s prospecting, grazing, anything you can do, cut wood, hike, all access that available now, we think the state would maybe even do a better job of guaranteeing access,” Dahl said.

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