Obama designates monument near Bundy ranch in Nevada

After years of publicly opposing federal land management policy, Cliven Bundy will now be able to see a 300,000 acre national monument from his ranch in Nevada.

On Wednesday, Obama designated two national monuments. The Bears Ears National Monument covers 1.35 million acres in Utah. The second is Gold Butte National Monument; 300,000 acres near Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Department of the Interior said both monuments contain sacred Native American land, important cultural sites and fragile wildlife habitat. Grazing permits and leases will still be issued for the land. 

Bundy has allegedly allowed his cattle to graze on the Gold Butte land without paying grazing fees. In 2014, he led a standoff against U.S. agents. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Bundy has claimed ancestral rights to the Gold Butte land. 

After the Gold Butte designation, the Bundy Ranch posted a statement opposing the move on its website.

"We, the Bundy Family, would like to say to President Obama that we are saddened, but not surprised, by your decision to make our ranch and home a national monument. If any of this were really about protecting the land, you would come here, work with the local people who love this land, those who have a vested interest in this land, and take the time to learn what this land really needs,” the statement read.

Two of Bundy’s sons, Ammon and Ryan, led a standoff in Oregon at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge that lasted for more than a month in early 2016. The brothers were acquitted on federal charges in that standoff but still face charges in the Nevada case.

Some environmental groups and businesses have advocated for a national monument in Eastern Oregon, near where the occupation took place. The proposed Owyhee Canyonlands national monument covers more than 2 million acres in Eastern Oregon and includes land ranchers currently use to graze cattle.

Many local ranchers oppose the Owyhee Canyonlands monument.

Proponents of the Oregon monument say ranchers would still be able to graze cattle on the land.

Obama has now designated more than two dozen monuments since taking office, more than any president in history. He can continue to designate monuments until he leaves office on Jan. 20. 

Read more: The bitter fight over Oregon's Grand Canyon

KGW


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