Las Vegas DSA, Sunrise Vegas, and Las Vegas National Lawyers Guild Chapter Oppose Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s Lands Bill
We envision a Clark County fueled by 100% renewable energy, where all people have equitable access to resources such as water, housing, education and healthcare, and the labor of our workforce is mobilized toward fighting climate breakdown.
As such, Las Vegas DSA opposes the Clark County Lands Bill, which would allow real estate developers to purchase federal public lands outside of the Las Vegas Valley along the I-15 corridor toward California. This bill would further urban sprawl, increase carbon emissions and air pollution, and perpetuate inequities in housing, transit, and climate. Las Vegas is among the fastest-warming cities in America, experiencing 5.7°F of warming since 1970. Low-income Las Vegans suffer the most from climate change and pollution, with increasingly unaffordable utility bills, higher rates of many adverse health conditions, and more exposure to environmental hazards and the unequal effects of natural disasters. The Clark County Lands Bill is in direct opposition to the changes we must see in order to maintain a livable planet and build a green energy future.
Clark County residents already suffer from the consequences of sprawl:
- Disproportionate impact on communities of color: Robert Bullard, environmental justice researcher, touches on multiple ways sprawl impacts hurt minorities (White flight and the decay of urban public schools, lack of reliable public transit, and air quality impacts in urban centers)
- Spatial mismatch leads to lifetime cycles of poverty, impacts on time and money earning potential of those who live in low income urban areas.
- Las Vegas is a non-attainment zone, meaning air pollution here exceeds EPA air quality standards. The valley has the 9th worst air for ground-level ozone in the country. As a result Nevada ranks 13th in the nation in asthma, which is the leading causes of missed school days and grade retention in children
The land disposal and expansion of the urban growth boundary proposed in the Clark County lands bill would exacerbate these issues, while contributing to significantly increased carbon emissions which put us on a track for a climate catastrophe. While the evidence of significant harm from sprawl and unchecked growth are becoming more clear by the day, this bill would double down on the patterns of unsustainable development which have brought us to the brink of climate and ecological collapse.
We are not here to solely express opposition, but to offer a more sustainable path for our community which addresses projected population growth, dwindling natural resources, and the effects of a two-industry economy that is vulnerable to the whims of economic boom-and-bust cycles. The Green New Deal is an economic, racial, class and environmental justice piece of legislation that guarantees universal housing and creates millions of good jobs in the process of tackling the climate crisis. The Green New Deal does even more, it moves us away from outsourcing solutions to private industry which has proven, and will continue to prove, its inability to pull us out of climate catastrophe. There has never been a better time to leave the status quo behind, legislate for your constituents and work to ensure that the solutions meet the scale of the climate, economic, racial and environmental crises we face.
Las Vegas DSA
National Lawyers Guild – Las Vegas