08:39 GMT +324 October 2019
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    US Air Force Wants Property Owners' Land Near Secret Area 51

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    Owners of a Nevada property surrounded by a nuclear testing range, including the mysterious Area 51, are being told to take $5.2 million for their land or the government will seize it.

    The landowners, about 20 property co-owners, trace their mining and mineral claims to the 1870s. To date, they have rejected the Air Force's "last best offer,” but have until Thursday to make a final decision.

    "What they really want to buy is our property, our access rights and our view," Joseph Sheahan, 54, of Henderson, Nevada, told the Associated Press.

    "We prefer to keep our property, but it's for sale under the right price at the right conditions. Why don't they ask themselves what it cost my family over the years in blood, sweat, tears and money?"

    Over the years, the federal government took control of land surrounding the nearly 400 acres of mine property. Today, the privately owned land is completely enclosed by a 4,500-square-mile reservation for nuclear testing, the AP reported.

    "The land has become an increasingly greater safety and security risk as demand for test and training opportunities have increased," the government said in an August 28 news release describing the final offer.

    The private property is only accessible by passing armed guards at security checkpoints.

    One of the current owners said her ancestors put the value of the property at $13.6 million in a May 1986 letter sent to the Air Force as part of an environmental study, the AP reported.

    An Air Force official, however, said government estimates for property and mineral rights, after assessments in the 1980s and 1990s, were between $1 million and $1.2 million.

    Tags:
    nuclear weapons, nuclear bomb, nuclear tests, Area 51, US Air Force, United States, Nevada
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