Quick History

July 4th 1776:

The United States Congress publically announces its Declaration of Independence

September 6th 1780:

The U.S. Congress’ “1780 Resolution on Public Lands” originates from a “solemn compact” among the States to cede their “claims” to all western lands to the national government on condition that it timely dispose of the lands to create “distinct republican states with the same rights of sovereignty, freedom and independence as the other states” and to use the proceeds, as there may be, to pay for the Revolutionary War and the resulting national debt.

September 3rd 1783:

The Treaty of Peace is signed in Paris officially ending the American War of Independence.

July 13th 1787:

The U.S. Congress adopts the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 creating a policy that would allow new states to be admitted into the union on “Equal Footing” with the original 13 states; essentially that all new states will be afforded the same rights, privileges, and protection as existing states.

1820’s :

“Western States” (Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida) begin pressuring congress due to the fact that 90% of their land has remained in federal control for decades.

February 5th 1828:

The U.S. Congress’ Public Lands Committee Reports the following regarding the Western States, ““If these lands are to be withheld, which is the effect of the present system, in vain may the People of these States expect the advantages of well settled neighborhoods, so essential to the education of youth . . . Those States will, for many generations, without some change, be retarded in endeavors to increase their comfort and wealth, by means of works of internal improvements, because they have not the power, incident to all sovereign States, of taxing the soil, to pay for the benefits conferred upon its owner by roads and canals. When these States stipulated not to tax the lands of the United States until they were sold, they rested upon the implied engagement of Congress to cause them to be sold, within a reasonable timeNo just equivalent has been given those States for a surrender of an attribute of sovereignty so important to their welfare, and to an equal standing with the original States.

(Currently these states are only 3-4% federally owned)

March 21, 1864:

The U.S. Congress passes the Nevada Enabling Act of 1864 authorizing Nevada to form a Constitution and State Government, and for the Admission of such State into the Union on equal Footing with the original States. Furthermore, like other states before it, that until the title to the unappropriated public lands lying within the state’s boundaries, and to all land owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes “shall have been extinguished by the United States, the same shall be and remain subject to the disposition of the United States, and said Indian lands shall remain under the absolute jurisdiction and control of the Congress of the United States; that no taxes shall be imposed by the State on lands or property therein belonging to or which may hereafter be purchased by the United States or reserved for its use”; that the state of Nevada only temporarily suspended its right to tax the public lands pending the national government’s imminent discharge of its trust obligation to dispose of all of the unappropriated public lands.



The U.S. Congress enacts the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA). After nearly 200 years of trust history regarding the obligation of Congress to dispose of western lands to create new states and use the proceeds to discharge its public debts, the United States Congress stated in the Federal Land Policy Management Act, “By this Act, Congress declares that it is the policy of the United States that the public lands be retained in Federal ownership, unless … it is determined that disposal of a particular parcel will serve the national interest” essentially rendering all states enabling acts as null and void.



The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declared that Congress does not have the authority to unilaterally change the “uniquely sovereign character of a State’s admission” into the Union, particularly “where virtually all of a State’s public lands are at stake” (Hawaii v. OHA, 2009)


The Nevada Lands Council is established to ensure that the U.S. Congress honor the Nevada enabling act of 1864 allowing Nevadans to "tax its own soil" and thus, fund education, care for the environment, enhance wildlife habitat, access natural resources, and create vibrant economic communities.

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