The Department of Defense's recent request to close off additional public lands in Nevada is simply unreasonable in light of the vast amount of land already available to the military for testing and training purposes. The military is preparing to ask Congress to expand two of its test and training ranges in Nevada by as much as 1,416 square miles, including portions of popular public lands outside of Las Vegas.
The military has not explained why the 21,000 square miles of existing test and training ranges throughout the southwestern states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico are not sufficient (this total does not count other training ranges in other states and the Pacific Ocean, or smaller military facilities in the southwestern states). At this early stage in the environmental review process, the military has only explained that expanding the Nellis Test and Training Range (NTTR) would “improve the range’s capacity to support testing and training.” For the prop…
A majority of Californians have expressed support for three new monuments proposed for California's desert and under consideration by the President. Voices opposing the designation of new national monuments, however, appear to be driven by misinformation and a distorted faith in Congress to act as a responsible steward of our wildlands. They claim that conservation has run amok, that monument designations will lock out the public, and that only Congress should decide which lands to protect.
Tyrannical Conservation Designations?
The first claim - that conservation is some oppressive land management regime that has run amok - is relatively easy to dispute. National Parks, monuments, and wilderness areas - wildlands that are
protected from most types of industrial development - account for about
4% of the total land area of the United States. With that number in mind, consider that we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of wildlife species on Earth. This is mostly dri…