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Devils Hole pupfish responsible for millions in tourism revenue

Big fish

Readers should not be fooled by the latest editorial in the Review-Journal regarding the Devils Hole pupfish (April 23), which suggests that the federal government should discontinue spending money on conservation measures for the endangered fish. The editorial cites fiscal responsibility as a key reason for taking this position.

The Review-Journal has published a slew of editorials in support of the GOP tax reform bill, which adds $1.5 trillion to the national deficit. But suddenly it has a newfound concern about fiscal responsibility when it comes to the $250,000 being spent annually on a fish which could hold the answers for treating certain metabolic disorders and chronic alcoholism (see Henry Brean’s article on the fish from May 4, 2015)? This editorial was penny-wise but dollar-poor. It is irresponsible to suggest that the Devils Hole pupfish is not worthy of preserving in perpetuity.

Beyond its scientific importance and potential relevance for understanding diseases in humans, visitors to the Death Valley National Park (of which Devils Hole is a part) spent $108 million in the local economy in 2018. Many of these visitors fly into Las Vegas and make Ash Meadows and Devils Hole one of their first stops in the Death Valley area. The $250,000 investment in maintaining the fish has a much more real impact on the Nevada economy than the GOP’s tax cuts ever will.

Readers should not be fooled. Members of the editorial board have no interest in fiscal responsibility. They are simply annoyed by conservation measures, because they are unable to fathom the importance that a diminutive fish has for the scientific community and local nearby economies.

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