After Surrounding Mine Site, US Air Force Wants Owners To Give Up Nevada Bombing Range
Owners and residents of a remote Nevada property, which is now enveloped by a bombing range that includes a mysterious and secret Area 51, have been given the ultimatum by the U.S. Air Force to accept the $5.2 million “last best offer” for their property by Thursday, or it will be seized by the government.
Of these are the owners whose ancestors lost their mining enterprise as the Air Force took control of the land in the 1940s. In 1951, nuclear testing began and their mine exploded under unknown circumstances in 1954.
“What they really want to buy is our property, our access rights and our view,” Joseph Sheahan said. Sheahan, his cousin, Barbara Sheahan Manning, and 20 other co-owners are in this fighter together.
“We prefer to keep our property, but it’s for sale under the right price at the right conditions,” Sheahan said. “Why don’t they ask themselves what it cost my family over the years in blood, sweat, tears and money?”
The mine property, located northwest of Las Vegas, was gradually encircled by the federal government. Today, it is a private island, one that can only be reached by passing armed guards at security gateposts. The surrounding area, spread to almost 4,500 square miles, is being used for nuclear testing, military training and other research. It is almost double the area of the state of Delaware, as reported by Yahoo News.
In an August 28 news release, the government had said, “The land has become an increasingly greater safety and security risk as demand for test and training opportunities have increased.”
Jennifer Miller, deputy assistant Air Force secretary for installations, said, “Nothing you can look up in any Air Force naming convention refers to Area 51.”
Manning said that the government has “completely disregarded our constitutional rights” for 70 years, ever since they seized control on that part of southern Nevada.
The land was used for several decades before World War II by ancestors of Sheahan for mining lead, silver and other minerals. The need to test nuclear plans stemmed during the Cold War. It was during this time that the government and military reached out to 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Family representatives claim they will reject the deal, while Air Force officials are saying it is matter of national security, as reported by Yeshiva World News.
In a May 1986 letter sent to the Air Force, Manning’s father, Daniel ‘Bob’ Sheahan, and uncle, H. Patrick Sheahan, valuated the property at $13.6 million. However, Miller said estimates for property and mineral rights given by the government were valued at between $1 million and $1.2 million. This offer was then extended to $5.4 million to agree on a number that was “reasonable prudent and in the public interest.”
“The payment cannot result in a windfall to the owners,” Miller said.