Carson City, Nevada - Governor Brian Sandoval issued the following statement after President Obama signed a Proclamation under the Antiquities Act designating approximately 290,000 acres in Southeastern Nevada as the Gold Butte National Monument.

“Nevada has more public land managed by the federal government than any other state in the lower 48, and any new designation of those lands is most successful when implemented under a thorough, public process. The use of the Antiquities Act in designating Gold Butte as a National Monument bypassed Congress and the public.  I believe our Congressional delegation should have had a primary role in working to build consensus as has been accomplished successfully in the past.

“At the same time, I recognized the inevitability of this designation and therefore met and talked with leaders from Mesquite, land owners, stakeholders and special user groups on this specific issue to try and address their concerns. I also visited the site and saw a beautiful part of Nevada with many special features, including extraordinary petroglyphs, slot canyons and unique rock formations.

“Following these discussions and the tour, I met with the White House to present these concerns, and my staff held follow-up meetings to address a number of issues including changing the proposed boundary to eliminate all private land to protect the interests of Mesquite and allow the city to continue to develop and grow as a municipality. We also worked with the White House and Department of Interior to ensure Nevada water law is adhered to and that the Virgin Valley Water District would have access to its water infrastructure for continued development and maintenance. Additionally, we worked to guarantee that the designated area would still be open for recreation, hunting, and multiple-use activities, including OHV trail riding, currently enjoyed by Nevadans and tourists alike. I also requested that a robust working group be established to develop the management plan that includes all voices.

“My priority was to mitigate any disruption a potential designation may cause the surrounding private land owners, communities and recreationists.  We all share a common goal of enacting smart conservation measures which help preserve our lands for the use and enjoyment of all Nevadans.   My strong preference is for a more collaborative process when making such an important designation. I firmly believe our ranchers, environmentalists, and community stakeholders are the best experts in ensuring Nevada’s lands are preserved, protected and accessible. I also believe that with this designation comes duties, responsibilities and an expectation that the BLM will properly manage the area and commit the funds necessary to do so.”