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Interior Secretary Zinke to visit Bunkerville on Sunday

Updated July 30, 2017 - 6:27 pm

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Sunday will make Bunkerville the final stop of a tour through several Western states to review national monuments.

Zinke will meet with the media Sunday evening to discuss the review of Nevada’s Gold Butte and the Basin and Range national monuments, the Interior Department said in an email to media outlets Saturday.

“Secretary Zinke is in the midst of a multi-day swing through the Western United States, which will conclude Sunday,” it said. “To date, he has met with advocacy groups, state and local officials, and Tribal leaders. The Secretary will be meeting with federal representatives and their staff over the course of the trip as well.”

Zinke also is slated to meet with BLM staff, local, state, and federal leaders, including U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., state Attorney General Adam Laxalt, members of Friends of Basin and Range, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Conservation Lands Foundation, and Lincoln County ranchers, according to a member of Zinke’s staff.

National monuments in Nevada(Las Vegas Review-Journal)

On Saturday, a congressional aide from Democratic Rep. Dina Titus’ office emailed a statement critical ofZinke’s decision to skip a planned meeting with dozens of stakeholders. The Sunday events would be “a far cry” from the planned issue-oriented roundtable meeting, the aide said.

In her statement, Titus called Zinke’s move to cut his trip short unacceptable. “He should hear from elected officials and others about both of Nevada’s new monuments,” Titus’ statement read. “I will make sure he receives our message: Keep your hands off our natural treasures. For years, I fought alongside advocates in the community to create the Basin and Range and Gold Butte monuments. We will not give up this fight now.”

Titus and Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., both advocates for the two Nevada monuments, said last week that they were invited to meet with Zinke. But that meeting had been planned for Monday, before the news that Zinke was cutting his visit short.

By order of President Donald Trump, Zinke is reviewing 22 national monuments and five marine national monuments created by presidential decree since Jan. 1, 1996, to determine whether the designations should be scaled back or eliminated.

The secretary spent three days in New Mexico on a visit and fact-gathering tour at the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument near Las Cruces that was to end Saturday.

He is expected to present Trump with his final recommendations on the monuments by the end of August.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

Review-Journal assistant city editor Marian Green contributed to this story.

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