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Nevada governor speaks out against Biden seizing mineral-rich land for monument

President Joe Biden speaks in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 8, 2022. (Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS)
April 05, 2023

Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo blasted President Joe Biden for designating a national monument in his state that will block mineral mining and impact the state’s economy.

Lombardo released a statement condemning the president’s move after an announcement to establish the Avi Kwa Ame National Monument in southern Nevada.

“Since I took office, the Biden White House has not consulted with my administration about any of the details of the proposed Avi Kwa Ame national monument which, given the size of the proposal, seems badly out of step,” Lombardo said in a statement, as reported by Fox News.

“Upon learning that the President was considering unilateral action, I reached out to the White House to raise several concerns, citing the potential for terminal disruption of rare earth mineral mining projects and long-planned, bipartisan economic development efforts,” he continued. “While I’m still waiting for a response, I’m not surprised.”

Biden made the announcement concerning the 500,000 acres of land in Clark County at the White House Conservation in Action Summit.

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“When we conserve our country’s natural gifts, we’re not just protecting the livelihoods of people who depend on them … we’re protecting the heart and the soul of our national pride,” Biden said. “We’re protecting pieces of history.” 

Biden also dedicated the Castner Range National Monument in El Paso, Texas, during the event.

In contrast with Lombardo’s criticism, a White House Fact Sheet claimed, “The designation will not slow the positive momentum of clean energy development in the State of Nevada, which will continue to play a leading role in helping the nation meet its goal of permitting 25 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2025.”

It continued, “Outside of the national monument boundaries, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has identified more than 9 million acres of public lands within the State of Nevada that may be appropriate for solar development.”

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland also celebrated the president’s plan.

“Avi Kwa Ame holds deep spiritual, sacred and historic significance to the Native people who have lived on these lands for generations. I am grateful to President Biden for taking this important step in recognition of the decades of advocacy from Tribes and the scientific community, who are eager to protect the objects within its boundaries,” she said in a statement. “Together with Tribal leaders, outdoor enthusiasts, local elected officials, and other stakeholders, we will manage this new monument for the benefit of current and future generations.”