Amodei: ÔHairy Berry National Monument' unilaterally carved out of Nevada by two Ôpolitical pals'
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Today, President Barack Obama, at the request of Senator Harry Reid, unilaterally designated the Basin and Range National Monument on 704,000 acres — larger than the state of Rhode Island — in Lincoln and Nye counties. Congressman Mark Amodei released the following statement:
“I guess I missed the Nevada delegation meeting to discuss the second largest conservation withdrawal in the history of the state. At least when Senator Bryan was looking for a legacy, they processed it through something resembling regular order.
“I keep searching for the resolutions from the Nye and Lincoln county commissions requesting unilateral action by two political pals to carve out the state of Rhode Island from Nevada, but to no avail.
“I look forward to visiting the ‘Hairy Berry National Monument’ and joining with my colleague Rep. Hardy in sponsoring legislation to put Rhode Island back in the lead for acreage.”
According to a report by the Washington Post:
“It is only due to Harry Reid that this is getting done,” said a former Obama adviser who was close to the process.”
Although Obama has shown an increased willingness to use his authority under the Antiquities Act this term, some of his aides were initially surprised by the push to protect the Basin and Range. There were other proposals that had been vetted for a longer period of time, such as ones to safeguard California’s Lake Berryessa and the Waco Mammoth site in Texas.
“This was on nobody’s radar screen, and it certainly wasn’t part of the plan,” said one person close to the president who has been involved in the discussions. When the question of possible controversy was broached, Obama said: “I don’t care. I want this done.”
In stark contrast to this designation driven by two men, there is a long history of consensus-based public lands designations in Nevada started at the county level involving county commissions and representative stakeholders before the drafting of federal legislation, which then goes through the public hearing and markup process. Even then, it can take years and multiple Congresses to pass such designations into law. The Basin and Range National Monument underwent no such transparent process.
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