More than 90,000 petitions to try to save two national monuments will be dropped off Thursday at a Nevada Senator Dean Heller’s office.
The last minute plea is to continue the support to keep Gold Butte as well as Basin and Range as national monuments.
The parks were declared as national monuments by President Barack Obama before he left office. But now, the Department of the Interior is looking at whether or not to eliminate them or shrink them in size.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is expected in Nevada early next week for a review of the monuments. Ahead of his visit, Congressmemembers Dina Titus and Ruben Kihuen, D-NV, along with Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-NV, have advocated keeping the monuments in tact.
Friends of Nevada Wilderness, who want the land to remain preserved, said Senator Heller has been silent.
“We documented significant damage out in both monuments, especially Gold Butte,” said Annette Magnus, Exec. Dir. Battle Born Progress. “People were shooting at petroglyphs. Things were being lit on fire. Things were being chopped down, and with these additional resources now we can manage those things properly.”
In all, between both national monuments, about a million acres of land is at stake in Nevada. The all-Republican Congressional Western Caucus is calling it a land grab.
The group of Congress members, which includes Nevada Representative Mark Amodei is proposing a drastic reduction to Basin and Range. He wants it to go from about 700,000 acres to just under 3,000 acres.
The lack of public input was a primary reason for reviewing the national monuments. However, after a recent comment period, there were about 2.7 million remarks submitted overwhelmingly in favor of keeping the monuments.
Secretary Zinke is expected to make his recommendation to President Donald Trump by the end of next month.