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Water Agency Chief: Gold Butte Boundary Change Could Be Good

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Reports that U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposes downsizing Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada are drawing condemnation from environmental advocates and Democratic elected officials.

But they’re welcomed by a southern Nevada water district with drinking water springs in the area.

Virgin Valley Water District executive Kevin Brown said Monday his agency has five springs in the Virgin Mountains, and asked Zinke to carve out about 25 square miles (65 square kilometers) from Gold Butte.

That’s about 5 percent of the overall monument area.

Friends of Gold Butte leader Jaina Moan vows that any monument boundary change by presidential edict would draw a lawsuit.

Moapa Band of Paiutes Tribal Chairman Darren Daboda didn’t immediately respond to messages about Zinke’s recommendation that President Donald Trump ask Congress to let tribes “comanage” Gold Butte cultural areas.

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