Heller to Obama: No Land Grabs Affecting Nevadans Before End of Term


Recently, United States Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) sent the following letter to President Barack Obama urging the Administration to abandon any plans to unilaterally designate a national monument that affects Nevadans before the end of the Administration’s term. Heller remains committed to “the Nevada model” of advancing conservation priorities legislatively through Congress, a process that guarantees that all Nevadans have an equal opportunity to provide constructive comments and shape proposals that change the management of our public lands for years to come.

A PDF copy of the letter can be found here.

Full text of letter:

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States of America

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

As the end of your presidential term approaches, I strongly urge you not to designate any new national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906 that would affect Nevadans. Many of my constituents have expressed strong concerns to me about two monument proposals that some advocates have been lobbying your Administration to designate – roughly 350,000 acres of federal land located in northeast Clark County, Nevada, known as Gold Butte and roughly 2.1 million acres of federal land in southeastern Oregon, much of which borders Nevada, known as the Owyhee Canyonlands. Despite what some advocates may portray, there is widespread local disagreement regarding these proposals.

The only way to approach multiple use of our public lands is through a transparent and collaborative effort that includes input from state and local governments, as well as stakeholders. Any action that vastly changes the management of hundreds of thousands of acres of federal land, including the establishment of any new national monuments, ought to be considered through the public Congressional process. The Nevada Congressional Delegation takes pride in its long history of success implementing conservation initiatives in this manner. In fact, you have signed into law multiple bipartisan bills over the course of your Administration, including the Las Vegas Valley Public Land and Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument Act (P.L.113-291) in 2014.

In this Congress alone, our delegation has introduced three Nevada-specific public lands bills that improve the management and conservation of public lands in Nevada: the Douglas County Conservation Act, the Eastern Nevada Land Implementation Improvement Act, and the Pershing County Economic Development and Conservation Act. Each of those bills were written in an open and transparent process and accordingly have garnered near-unanimous support within the affected communities and have unanimous support from our Congressional Delegation. It is my hope that these proposals reach your desk for signature before the end of your term.

Again, I urge you to abandon any plans to unilaterally designate a national monument that affects Nevadans before the end of your term. I remain committed to “the Nevada model” of advancing conservation priorities legislatively as I assume the role as Nevada’s senior Senator in the 115th Congress. That process guarantees that all Nevadans have an equal opportunity to provide constructive comments and shape proposals that change the management of our public lands for years to come.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact my office with questions.



Dean Heller

United States Senator



  1. Hey Heller, The large majority of your constituents want federal lands protected. Your advocacy on behalf of those of the Bundy mindset will cost you your seat.

  2. Connie Foust says:

    Perhaps Senator Heller could put some effort into not passing Barrack Obama’s budget before the end of the year so we can start with a clean slate.

  3. Sorry, but when you spent the last 8 yrs blocking everything in congress that you could to try to make Obama look unsuccessful, rather than working for the good of the people, there will be consequences. We have tried for years to come together and work for a common goal – but it’s been your way or the highway. I hope Obama does come forward and do what the majority of the people want with THEIR public lands (not Nevada’s).

  4. Mesquite Dave says:

    President Obama’s term ends January 20, 2017. It is my hope that he will designate Gold Butte a National Monument on or before that date. Senator Heller does not speak for the vast majority of Nevadans that support the Gold Butte designation. Heller will go the way of Cresent Hardy to the unemployment line.

  5. Julie Fair says:

    Jerk, we need Gold Butte protect from idiots like you!

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      I’m all for protecting public lands and though Gold Butte is a beautiful area…a National Monument? Wouldn’t that put Gold Butte into the “Pay to Play” category then? If it were a national monument then there would be even more restrictions than there are now, wouldn’t there? Preservation of the artifacts and petroglyphs is great but they are everywhere out here in the desert, why then wouldn’t all areas with petroglyphys be deemed “National Monuments”? Protecting the land and keeping it public is one thing but charging people to enjoy nature is just “UNNATURAL”

      • Mesquite Dave says:

        There should be no charge to enjoy our public lands. We should properly fund the Parks Service so that there is no need for any admission charge. As for restrictions, do you favor letting ATV’s tear up our desert? Also, if you want to develop Gold Butte or any other area, you can do it the old fashioned way. You can purchase the land from the government.

        • Teri Nehrenz says:

          I completely agree with you on the first and last points.
          As for the restrictions…Boy, you ask hard questions. I really have mixed emotions and there are so many contradictions in even thinking about it. We’ve already “torn up” enough of our ‘Nature’ in development, pollution and modern conveniences that it’s basically a mute point. “We have to kill animals because they’ve over populated their native habitat” is a lie. Truth is, we’ve taken more and more away from them so that in the course of their “Natural life cycle” and our unnatural destruction of their wilderness they’ve overpopulated areas where we still “allow” them to exist then we’ve “HAD” to kill them for their own good. We’ve been the direct cause of the near extinction and in some cases the very sad extinction of some of God’s beautiful creatures, plants and land areas and we’ve blocked or completely altered the natural course of everything so where do you draw the line? Aren’t ATV’s meant to be utilized on ‘All Terrains?’ People purchase them for that purpose and aren’t the public lands just as much theirs as yours and mine? Where do you draw the line? Once beautiful landscapes and views forever left blemished by concrete, steel, drills and human destruction. (I’m not talking natural destruction by animals who are meant to live there) That’s a really great question which I’m sure there is no clear answer to. Yes, I’m 100% for preserving what we’ve got left but the people who ATV have a right to the land too. I really can’t give you an answer that won’t seem like a double standard; I have too many mixed emotions and thoughts. Most especially on the issue of Gold Butte being designated a National Monument…It’s pretty and all but I don’t know if it is any more beautiful than other areas. In the preservation of the area the value lies in the existence of the petroglyphs and wildlife/wildlife habitat; I’m for preserving that. As far as the off road vehicles well, it’s not really utilizing the equipment for it’s intended purpose if you have to keep them on trails and it’s through the use of these off road vehicles that other value is able to be explored in a timely manner. I think we should all go back to horses but that’s another story.

  6. We need Gold Butte protected and the Bundy’s in Prison!

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