The federal government already has millions of acres of land in Nevada. Now they want an embattled segment of land in northeast Clark County known as Gold Butte.
Twice now, President Obama has acted to preserve land in Nevada. In December 2014, he signed into law a bill passed by Congress creating the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument on 22,650 acres at the northern edge of the Las Vegas Valley, and then July 2015, he invoked the 1906 Antiquities Act to designate the Basin and Range National Monument on 704,000 acres in Lincoln and Nye counties.
Cattle belonging to federally-held political prisoner Cliven Bundy still roam the Gold Butte area in defiance of three federal court orders and two failed attempts by the Bureau of Land Management to round-up the animals. And of course, Senator Harry Reid backs monument protection for the area.
“We’ll see if President Obama will protect this area. He has the authority, as any president does, to stop this sort of destruction and stop it now,” Reid said during Senate speech in April. “Congress created the Antiquities Act to empower the president to protect our cultural, historic and natural resources when and where Congress cannot — or will not. Many of our current national parks were created using this authority.”
When a national monument’s named, the federal government assumes all control of that land and can make decisions to control the land without the need for congressional approval. So Reid and his syndicate may very well end up getting their wish of a few thousand acres of solar panels after all.