Friday, May 23, 2014

Why Not Gold Butte?

Today, a mountain range in Southern New Mexico is making news. And don't worry, it's making news for a good reason.

Earlier this week, President Obama officially designated the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. This means that starting today, about 496,000 acres of desert wilderness just outside Las Cruces will officially be guaranteed forever wild. This region is home to golden eagles, mule deer, Montezuma quails, and a number of rare animal and plant species.

Oh, and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument is expected to generate about $7.4 million in new economic activity for the Las Cruces area and double the amount of jobs in the region's tourism industry. That's why a large coalition of local business leaders, sporting/hunting enthusiasts, faith leaders, and elected officials support the new monument.

Not too long ago, a similar grassroots campaign emerged for preservation of Gold Butte. Senator Harry Reid (D) & Rep. Steven Horsford (D-North Las Vegas) even introduced legislation in Congress to declare a National Conservation Area for Gold Butte. But with hardened G-O-TEA opposition (even from Nevada's Republicans in Congress!), that legislation went nowhere fast.

And then, Cliven Bundy became an instant national G-O-TEA celebrity...

And now, the Gold Butte area is being overrun by armed madness. And as a result, Mesquite area businesses have been losing business.

Today, Southern New Mexico residents are celebrating the new national monument that will preserve a key stretch of the Southern Rocky Mountains while generating more economic activity for the region. Why can't Southern Nevada have the same? Why can't Gold Butte have the respect it deserves? Because a few armed zealots backed by a handful of billionaire zealots want armed anarchy instead?

Other ecologically sensitive areas of the nation have been fortunate enough to earn federal preservation designation. Why not Gold Butte? Why can't Gold Butte be recognized for the treasure it truly is? If Congress won't act to save Gold Butte from the crazed armed thugs who want to continue their illegal "Range War" there, why can't the President take action to save Gold Butte like he just has for New Mexico's Organ Mountains?

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