ESA Victims

Northern Nevada Takes Another Hit 


January 17, 2002 


Nevada Committee for Full Statehood 

P.O. Box 656 

Sparks, Nevada 89432 


Fax: 775-356-0727 


The announcement in the Reno Gazette Journal on Sunday, January 16, 2002, that a Reno lawyer and rancher Bob Marshall was selling 80 acres to the Bureau of Land Management for $400,000, because of a possible listing of the Carson Wandering Skipper butterfly is bad news for Washoe County taxpayers, according to the Nevada Committee for Full Statehood.

The land, when sold, will no longer be part of the tax-base. Northern Nevada counties will once again be left with a decreased tax base to fund their own, as well as State, operations according to Jackie Holmgren, Ranching Representative of the Nevada Committee for Full Statehood.

"Nevada formerly had a pitiful 13% of the State in private hands, but that’s changed—for the worse," said Holmgren. "The money from Las Vegas land sales that does not go directly to the Feds is used to buy up land for the Feds in the rest of the State. The result is that Las Vegas is getting more land on the tax rolls, but the overall percentage of the State that is free of federal control is declining. We’ve fallen through 12% and are coming closer to 11% non-federally controlled land in Nevada," explained Holmgren.

"This is open warfare on rural Nevada," declared Chris Johnson of Elko, Chairman of the Nevada Committee for Full Statehood. "A lawyer wants to make a bundle, so the rural tax base suffers. There’s no doubt that the BLM will have a new ally in Marshall to support their efforts to expand occupation of the State," said Johnson.

"This is just what President Andrew Jackson was talking about when he vetoed an early BLM-type proposal. The Constitution forbids the federal government from acquiring land in a State unless it buys it, gets the consent of the Legislature and uses it, ‘for the erection of forts, magazines, dock-yards and other needful buildings’ (Art. I, Sec. 8, cl. 17)," stated Chris Johnson.

"The Constitution hasn’t changed since President Andrew Jackson’s veto," continued Johnson. "But the subversion of our State government is furthered by a lawyer making some money by selling land to the BLM, then making some more money by exporting the water away from the land for which the water right was issued in the first place."

The article in the Reno-Gazette Journal didn’t seem to pick up on the real issues. Why are the Feds the only ones who can "secure the butterfly’s habitat." It looks like one of the places it has been doing fine is on the ranch! But, as quoted in the Reno Gazette-Journal, Walt Devaurs, a BLM wildlife biologist said, "I think with the property being in federal ownership and with the water secured, it would protect the site for the skipper pretty much in perpetuity."

"Marshall wanted to divert some of the water for municipal use, and it was alleged this would harm the skippers’ habitat, that the water table ‘might’ fall, that the salt grass ‘might’ die (although the color picture in the Gazette shows the skipper eating an aster). However, as soon as Marshall conveys title to the land and water to BLM then Marshall said, "he sees no reason his separate water exportation plan can’t proceed."

"Does this make sense? Evidently, the butterfly needed the water, didn’t it? Put two and two together and you get the Feds once again using some fabricated issue to scoop up more land within Nevada. A ‘willing seller,’ junk science, and the threat of ‘endangered species’ is all that’s needed," said Jackie Holmgren.

For further information please contact: Jackie Holmgren 775-530-5313, Dan Hansen 775-358-4876, Janine Hansen 775-352-8262 [email protected]