MESQUITE, NV (KXNT) – Conservation groups say they’re disgusted with the recent report on national monuments released Tuesday by the Secretary of the Interior. It recommends Gold Butte be shrunk, but gives no specifics.
So conservation groups are speaking out, calling the Trump administration’s move against Gold Butte, part of the largest public lands attack in history. On Tuesday, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released his final report reviewing 26 national monuments, and recommended that Gold Butte’s acreage be cut, but left the specifics up to the president. Brian Beffort, is the director of the Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter. He said he’s very frustrated with the decision that favors grazing and motorized access over environmental protection.
“Secretary Zinke and the Trump administration have been very clear about who they favor, and its the extra active industries, not the public or the tribes. This administration has been working around the clock to sell out America’s public lands, and I think it’s deeply unpopular and un-American,” said Beffort.
During the two month public comment period, the feeds got more than 2.8 million responses, 98 percent in favor of keeping the monuments intact or expanding them. However, in his report, Zinke dismissed it as a campaign orchestrated by environmental groups.
Jaina Moan, Executive Director of the Friends of Gold Butte, said those groups represent thousands of Nevadans, and thinks it’s chilling that, even before the report came out, President Donald Trump announced that he’s drastically slashing two monuments in Utah.
“The President already took action on the Bear’s Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments, so we sure hope that Gold Butte is not next on his hit list,” Moan said.
Thomas Tait, former C-E-O of the Nevada Commission on Tourism, said he hopes Trump takes into account the financial benefits national monuments bring.
“Last year, the city of Mesquite realized in $2.7 million in economic activity as a direct result of Gold Butte. Southern Nevada public lands are providing 78-thousand jobs and $13.9 billion in economic resources,” said Tait.
Multiple groups have vowed to sue the Trump Administration, saying the Antiquities Act gives Presidents the ability to create national monuments but not to shrink them.