Amodei, Heller diss monuments

Two of Nevada’s congressmembers didn’t waste any time. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid left office on Jan. 3. On Jan. 4, U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei and U.S. Sen. Dean Heller introduced legislation to prevent presidential action “designating or expanding national monuments without Congressional approval or local support.”

Reid was instrumental in convincing President Obama to designate two new national monuments for Nevada—Basin and Range and Gold Butte.

In a prepared statement, Heller called them “unilateral federal land grabs by the executive branch,” and saying they “should not be allowed. Public input and local support remain critical to the decision-making process of federal land designations.”

Amodei said in his statement, “Whether you agree with our proposals or not, I have always supprted a public and transparent process which includes input from interest groups, local communities and elected representatives. Unlike all of our Nevada lands bills that allow stakeholders an opportunity to voice their concerns and ultimately reach a consensus agreement that achieves bipartisan support, the Obama administration has repeatedly bypassed Congress and local input.”

However, defenders of Obama’s action say Heller and Amodei are rewriting history, that public input was obtained. For instance, in a letter to the editor on page 3 of this edition, Cathy Schmidt of Reno writes that “Gold Butte’s advocates worked with local governments, sportsmen, off-road enthusiasts, opposition voices, supporters, and so many more to ensure that there was a well-balanced proposal to protect Gold Butte where all voices were heard. Governor Sandoval is even on record of having input. To paraphrase Rep. Dina Titus from Las Vegas, who has been a champion for Gold Butte, the only people who say there wasn’t public input around Gold Butte’s designation are just those who are opposed to it.”