Warren announces opposition to military expansion in wildlife refuge

probly radioactive
Dunes off of Alamo Road on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service photo)
probly radioactive
Dunes off of Alamo Road on the Desert National Wildlife Refuge (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service photo)

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced her opposition Tuesday to the planned military expansion into the Desert National Wildlife Refuge north of Las Vegas. 

“I oppose military expansion into the Desert National Wildlife Refuge — we have a responsibility to protect these lands from environmental damage, and respect the communities and heritage they represent,” Warren said in a statement issued by the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund.

At issue is the Air Force’s plan to add more than 300,000 acres to the Nevada Test and Training Range. Most of it would come from the adjacent land at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, which provides habitat and protection for the iconic desert bighorn sheep.

Nevada state lawmakers recently passed a resolution opposing the plan. Environmental groups, off-road enthusiasts and tribal groups have also come out against the expansion.

The Moapa Band of Southern Paiute Indians similarly oppose the expansion and have issued a tribal resolution opposing the military’s plan.

I believe we need true and meaningful consultation with Tribal Nations, especially regarding projects that could put important cultural and ecological sites at risk.” Warren said in a statement.

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge outside Alaska, with 1.6 million acres that stretch from the Mojave to the Great Basin Desert. It encompasses six major mountain ranges.

The military controls an even larger swath of land for its training facility, nearly 3 million acres in Clark, Lincoln and Nye counties.

Military officials want Congress to extend its ability to use the training acreage and add to the land the Air Force already uses. The Air Force already controls 846,000 acres of land in the wildlife refuge from a previous deal.

Patrick Donnelly, Nevada director with the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund, said the group has reached out to dozens of campaigns over the last couple of months adding that presidential candidates “have a chance to really substantively affect the outcome of environmental issues in this state using their bully pulpits.”

“We are grateful to Senator Warren for being the first presidential candidate to show the courage to stand with Nevadans for our wildlife and our cultural heritage,” Donnelly said. “We need our congressional delegation to do the same.”

Jeniffer Solis
Reporter | Jeniffer was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where she attended the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before graduating in 2017 with a B.A in Journalism and Media Studies. While at UNLV she was a senior staff writer for the student newspaper, the UNLV Scarlet and Gray Free Press, and a news reporter for KUNV 91.5 FM, covering everything from the Route 91 shooting to UNLV housing. She has also contributed to the UNLV News Center and worked as a production engineer for several KUNV broadcasts before joining the Nevada Current. She’s an Aries.

1 COMMENT

  1. East of the proposed expansion area, the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, are another million or so acres of NV desert. I would expect the military would eventually want that area too, some time after the DNWR is absorbed. After that, it’s into Utah.

    The military already has a gigantic hunk of Nevada. I strongly suspect the motivation includes convenience, not real hard-core need. The military is finding it too easy to take more land, so too easy to pass up. That has to stop. Surely the military is clever enough figure how to do without more, they have so much now.

    Regards,
    Tom Budlong

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