(Mark Waite/Pahrump Valley Times) – Nevada District 36 Assemblyman Ed Goedhart, R-Amargosa Valley, wants the federal government to pay mitigation for contamination at the Nevada Test Site.
The test site was recently renamed the National Nuclear Security Site NNSS . It was the scene of more than 800 nuclear detonations since it was dedicated by President Harry Truman in 1946.
Goedhart already aroused some controversy, introducing a bill draft request for the upcoming state Legislature patterned after the Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act, a nationwide drive by conservative groups to allow states to opt out of a mandate in President Obama’s health care plan to buy health insurance.
In his last minute requests, Goedhart introduced a BDR for a resolution urging the federal government to enter into discussions with the state and Nye County over mitigation from contaminating certain waters in the state.
“On the Nevada Test Site, which is wholely contained and encapsulated within the Nye County borders, we have to bear with the results and effects and destruction of the Nevada Test Site. By their own estimates they have contaminated 1.6 trillion gallons of water,” Goedhart said. “That precludes our ability to utilize that water to sustain and encourage current and future economic development.”
Goedhart asked if the U.S. government can make payoffs to survivors and victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack, black farmers and Indian tribes, Nye County should be able to ask for mitigation. At the state level, it could take care of the budget, he said.
While it’s just a resolution, Goedhart said, “You have to bring awareness before you can bring a movement and spur action. We have to get it out there in the public dialogue.”
When the Nye County Water District Board was created after state legislation in 2007, then Nye County hydrologist the late Tom Buqo, said there were enough water rights on the test site to provide water for the entire state.
Another late BDR Goedhart introduced would ask to revise the funding from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act of 1988, in which the U.S. Bureau of Land Management sells tracts of land, usually in the Las Vegas area, and uses the proceeds to acquire environmentally sensitive land from private landowners elsewhere in the state.
“Nevada land is already 87 1/2 percent controlled by the federal government, Nye County is 98 percent controlled by the federal government. Why do we want to take sales of private land in Las Vegas and buy out the last productive land and water in rural Nevada that further erodes rural county tax rolls?” Goedhart asked.
Instead of using 85 percent of the proceeds for buying property, 10 percent going to the Southern Nevada Water Authority and 5 percent for public education, Goedhart suggested using half the money for transportation and infrastructure improvement projects across the state, 20 percent for the SNWA, 20 percent for education and only 10 percent to buy pieces of property.
Goedhart also wants a bill to allow the public to use off-highway vehicles on public roads. He said that would be like Arizona, which allows people with four wheel, off-highway vehicles and golf carts to license them and drive on roads and streets, but not highways and freeways.
“It’s a great way to raise revenue. Arizona has raised millions of dollars doing this and it eliminates people driving alongside the shoulder of the highway eroding the roads and spitting rocks and dust,” Goedhart said.
In beginning his third term, Goedhart also asks for a resolution to amend the Nevada Constitution allowing people to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.
Goedhart’s other BDRs, introduced earlier this year included:
* A special license plate with the message “Don’t Tread on Me” and the Gadsden flag with a snake, an emblem of the Tea Party movement, with proceeds going to buy copies of the U.S. Constitution for school children.
* Allowing Nevada to exercise eminent domain over federal land for certain renewable energy projects.
* Requiring the top administrator of a federal agency to sign off on protests of water rights.
* A four-year cooling off period before a former elected official can become a lobbyist.
* Requiring a bill be posted on the state legislature’s website for three days before a vote.
* Easing restrictions on carrying firearms in state parks.