Letter to the editor Schmitt/Moan

The Friends of Gold Butte stands behind our statement referenced in the 12/6/17 article re: the Virgin Valley Water District meeting. In it, we reiterated the points of the Proclamation establishing Gold Butte as a National Monument as they pertain to water rights and rights of way. The Proclamation is the law of the land for Gold Butte National Monument. It outlines a broad array of activities that are permissible and we do not feel that we misrepresented the Proclamation.

Our statement about the water rights and rights of way was based on the belief that the Virgin Valley Water District has valid and existing rights and rights of way to the springs in Gold Butte National Monument. Indeed, after the designation, the VVWD said “we have all the right of ways we need” (see Mesquite Local News article from January 2, 2017 http://mesquitelocalnews.com/2017/01/water-district-to-retain-water-rights-in-gold-butte/). It is disappointing to learn now that the VVWD’s ROW application is still pending at BLM; however, there is no benefit to be gained by reducing the Monument boundary. In fact, it seems that requesting this boundary change is causing more delay in processing their application. We feel that the concerns of the VVWD and right of way issues can best addressed in the management plan for the National Monument. The planning process commenced this week. On Tuesday, the BLM opened a public comment period for the revision of their Resource Management Plan. Gold Butte National Monument is included in this process. Anyone can comment and we encourage all people to submit their opinion. Please visit https://go.usa.gov/xnBqm for more information.

Gold Butte is a national treasure and we are proud that Mesquite is the gateway city to the Monument. Not only does the Monument designation ensure that we all can continue to experience and enjoy the antiquities and natural resources now and into the future, it also provides an economic opportunity for Mesquite and surrounding communities. We share this opinion with many thousands of people who live both here in southern Nevada and all over the country. We welcome anyone to contact us with questions about our position and about how we can all move forward together to determine the next steps for Gold Butte. You can email info@friendsofgoldbutte.org or visit our website for more information, www.friendsofgoldbutte.org.

Klaus Schmitt, FoGB Board President, Mesquite

Jaina Moan, FoGB Executive Director, Las Vegas

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