Open Letter to the City Council about Monument Review Vote

Greetings Council and Mayor,

First of all, thanks go to Geno for his no vote on resolution 927, support for review of the Gold Butte National Monument boundaries. I am extremely disappointed in the rest of the council for their knee-jerk reaction and lack of research on something they know has had years of conversation and collaboration with all parties that have vested interests. I understand you all had concerns about water rights access, but those were explicitly and favorably addressed in the monument proclamation:

“The establishment of the monument is subject to valid existing rights, including valid existing water rights”

(Gold Butte National Monument Proclamation, page 5).

“Consistent with the care and management of the objects identified above, nothing in this proclamation shall be construed to preclude the renewal or assignment of, or interfere with the operation, maintenance, replacement, modification, or upgrade within the physical authorization boundary of existing flood control, pipeline, and telecommunications facilities, or other water infrastructure, including wildlife water catchments or water district facilities, that are located within the monument. Except as necessary for the care and management of the objects identified above, no new rights-of-way shall be authorized within the monument.”

(Gold Butte National Monument Proclamation, pages 5-6).

Additionally, Virgin Valley Water District GM Kevin Brown was quoted as saying that while the District did not get the exact language they proposed, he was confident that they had what they needed, noting “We have all the right of ways we need.” (click here for article in Mesquite Local News).

Reducing the boundaries of the Gold Butte National Monument to take out the area with the water rights removes those explicit water right protections and leaves them vulnerable to detrimental changes in the future. I know there is probably nothing you can do about your votes now, but I wanted to be sure you understand the potential ramifications of your actions.


Terri Rylander