Biden Unveiling What in Two States?

Gage Skidmore from Surprise, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – President Biden designated two new national monuments at Nevada’s Avi Kwa Ame and Texas’s Castner Range on Tuesday, and will also move towards the designation of a national marine sanctuary.

The Avi Kwa Ame monument in Southern Nevada includes a peak known as Spirit Mountain, which exists in the creation story of many tribal nations. The desert landscape includes a Joshua tree forest and fauna, which is the habitat of desert bighorn sheep, desert tortoise, and Gila monsters. The Mojave, Chemehuevi, some of the Southern Paiute people, and other indigenous groups consider the area their most sacred place.

Castner Range, in the El Paso area, was a training and testing military site during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The monument is going to include 6,672 acres of the Franklin Mountain range, which is home to a number of species, including the Mexican Poppy flower.

Biden is also going to instruct the Commerce Department to consider the designation of a new marine sanctuary that would protect all U.S. waters that surround the Pacific Remote Islands southwest of Hawaii.

A marine national monument of around 495,000 square miles of open ocean, coral reef, and island habitats is already established, however, a White House fact sheet has said that the new monument would also include “areas unaddressed by previous administrations so all areas of U.S. jurisdiction around the islands, atolls, and reef of the Pacific Remote Islands will be protected.”

Republican Governor Joe Lombardo of Nevada was not happy about Biden’s decision, calling it “a historic mistake.” Lombardo cited a lack of communication from the Biden administration as one reason for his displeasure, further stating that the new national monument could very well interfere with mining projects planned for the state in the future.

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