U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke didn’t stop at any national monuments during his first official visit to Nevada, but he promised to return for a tour of Gold Butte and Basin and Range before the end of July.
During an event in Pahrump on June 26, Zinke said he wants to see the two Nevada monuments from the ground and talk to stakeholders before he decides whether the designations should be reduced, rescinded or left intact.
He said he doesn’t have any “preconceived ideas” about the two Obama-era monuments, though he indicated that his recent recommendations on Bears Ears National Monument in Utah provide a blueprint for what might happen here.
He is recommending, among other things, that the boundaries of Bears Ears be redrawn to reduce the size of the almost 1.4 million-acre monument.
Zinke stopped at the community center in Pahrump to meet with state and local officials and hand out some federal money.
No dates have been set for Zinke’s upcoming Nevada monument tour, but he said he expects it to happen during the latter half of next month and involve stops at Gold Butte and Basin and Range.
Zinke said he plans to consult with state and county officials, business groups, tribal representatives and others.
Darren Daboda, chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, expects to be included in those meetings.
At a news conference called by conservation advocates in Las Vegas on June 26, Daboda said both monuments are an important part of “who we are as a culture,” but the Trump administration has yet to acknowledge the tribe and its interests.
“It’s like we’re fighting all over again,” he said. “People still don’t understand our concerns.”
Zinke’s ongoing review includes 22 monuments nationwide that were established by presidential decree since 1996. He is due to deliver his final report and recommendations to President Donald Trump by late August.
Contact Henry Brean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.