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Commentary

Interior Secretary Sally Jewel:

“This area is a spectacular expanse of rugged public lands that tell the proud story of the West, from the ancient rock art of our First Americans to the early homesteaders looking for opportunity on the open range. Today’s action builds on local efforts to preserve and protect this special place, while also allowing traditional ranching practices, recreational opportunities, future scientific study and national security exercises. The President’s action ensures that this area will remain a beloved resource for generations to come.”

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller:

“The Nevada Delegation has a strong tradition of working in a bipartisan manner on conservation and public lands issues through the legislative process. With the stroke of a pen, President Obama has bypassed Congress and unilaterally restricted the use of over 700,000 acres of Nevada’s public land. I have always been forthright with my position that any federal action to change access on our public lands should be discussed in an open and transparent process incorporating the input and support from local communities.”

U.S. Sen. Harry Reid:

“I love Nevada, and the Nevada that I know and love is the quiet, starkly beautiful desert. Today’s designation to protect over 700,000 acres of this unique Nevada desert, known as Basin and Range, is historic.

“The new Basin and Range National Monument is an area where the Mojave Desert meets the Great Basin and Joshua trees and cactus give way to a sea of sagebrush. It is home to desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk and pronghorn antelope. The land provided food and shelter for ancient people and we can still see the history of those people today in the incredible rock art panels. This area is a time capsule of our pioneering western history, from early explorers to mining to the ranching that still exists today. In its center is City, a grand modern art sculpture by world renowned artist Michael Heizer. It is a peaceful place. To me, it feels like home.

“President Obama will be remembered for many accomplishments, but I am confident this action today will be a defining legacy for him. I have nothing but admiration for President Obama. I appreciate more than I can put into words what he has done today to preserve the beauty of the Nevada desert for our grandchildren, their grandchildren, and generations to come. He has used his authority under the Antiquities Act to do great things all over the country and he’s not done yet. There are vast landscapes and historic treasures from Idaho to California to Oregon that have languished in Congress. I hope that the President will continue to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect these places.

“As a little boy growing up in Searchlight, my family didn’t travel or go on vacations. But we were able to visit Fort Piute Springs, about fifteen miles away from my home. To me it was a supernatural place, it was my Disneyland. It had a Calvary fort, it had gushing ponds of water, it had lily pads and cattails — it was magic. Decades later I went back to visit only to find it in ruins. I thought it was profoundly unfair that little boys and girls wouldn’t be able to experience the thrill of Piute Springs like I had. I became determined that someday I would preserve Piute Springs and places like it. I have worked hard to do that.

“Everything I’ve done for the environment is based on my experience as a little boy going to Piute Springs. We have an obligation to preserve these precious lands for future generations. I am so happy with the Basin and Range National Monument designation. Today we accomplished something that will last for generations.”

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Nevada Farm Bureau:

“Nevada Farm Bureau is disappointed with the decision of President Obama to designate the 704,000 acre Basin and Range Monument as a national monument. Local government officials and stakeholders have worked persistently to protect and preserve the land and its natural resources in Lincoln and Nye County for generations. This designation will make those preservation efforts more difficult and will negatively affect local ranchers who diligently conserve the land while feeding our growing population.

“Nevada Farm Bureau policy calls for the collaboration of livestock production, agriculture advocacy and other impacted groups to coordinate strategy on Nevada federal land issues. This decision eliminated local input of those individuals who are directly affected by the designation and who possess the expertise to make decisions about lands in Nevada.”

David von Seggern, Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter:

“As one who has traveled to most corners of the state and recognizes the special geology, wildlife, and history of the Great Basin, I am pleased to hear President Obama is declaring the Basin and Range National Monument in southern Nevada. While we have Great Basin National Park in east-central Nevada, this area represents the vast and open areas of our state that modern development has not touched. It is a fitting addition to our protected public lands.”

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