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EDITORIAL: Tule Springs merits national monument status

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Las Vegas Review-Journal

Tule Springs

Talk about bad timing. Southern Nevada leaders have worked for years to establish fossil-rich Tule Springs as a national monument. Finally, on Thursday, they appeared before a House subcommittee in support of a bipartisan bill to award the much-deserved designation.

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, Las Vegas City Councilman Steve Ross and Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kristin McMillan testified in Washington against the backdrop of a federal government shutdown — and national monument closures that have made national news on their own.

Federal protection comes at a price. For all the benefits that would result from the creation of the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument — the preservation of 22,650 acres in the northern Las Vegas Valley, recognition that would attract more tourism and research — come the drawbacks of heavy-handed, politically driven federal controls, including limits on public access to public land.

If Tule Springs were a national monument today — it would be Nevada’s first — the place would be unnecessarily closed. The dysfunction of Congress and the arrogance of the Obama administration notwithstanding, a budget stalemate is no reason to deny the public entry to its own property. The shutdown is a reminder that we need less federal control over our land, not more.


Las Vegas Review-Journal