As I’ve said before, most Nevadans support public lands and their permanent protection. President Trump has criticized the creation of national monuments like Gold Butte and Basin and Range, calling them a “massive federal land grab” and portraying them as federal overreach.
What would be funny if it wasn’t so sad is that President Trump is doing exactly what he’s complaining about: imposing Washington, D.C.’s “wisdom” on the people of Nevada. Instead of “returning control to the people” as he has advocated, he’s side stepping the desires of Nevadans. Instead of being part of the conversation, Nevadans are told to shut up and sit down.President Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, first used the act in 1906, and for years presidents from both parties have used this action to protect our national treasures.
Now, President Trump is bucking years of precedent by threatening to revoke the protected status for these designations. Who is President Trump really looking out for? Perhaps it’s big oil and gas who want expanded drilling rights. Or mining companies that seek to extract resources from these federally held areas.
He certainly isn’t looking out for Nevadans, or the Moapa Band of Paiutes, or residents of Mesquite, Caliente, Crystal Springs or any of the other countless towns and communities that surround Gold Butte and Basin and Range.
Designating these as national monuments also provides our state with federal resources and tools to protect their natural beauty while exploring ways to foster economic development at each site. Additionally, tourism and revenue from the outdoor recreation economy, a $14 billion industry that supports 148,000 jobs, could act as an economic boon for the surrounding areas. The Nevada legislature recently passed a resolution expressing support for Basin and Range and Gold Butte. It can’t be any clearer, Nevadans across party lines have made their voices heard. They want these monuments.