Dear Senator Dean Heller, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, Congresswoman Dina Titus, Congressman Mark Amodei, Congressman Ruben Kihuen, and Congresswoman Jacky Rosen,
I am writing to you today to express my concerns on the current military expansion proposals across Nevada from the Nellis Test and Training Range and the Fallon Naval Air Station.
I am very concerned about the 300,000 acres of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge that the Nellis Test and Training Range seeks to withdraw. Designated in 1936 to provide habitat and protection for desert bighorn sheep, the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the largest refuge in the contiguous United States. Encompassing six major mountain ranges and nearly 1.6 million acres in Nevada, it provides the highest quality, intact habitat for desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife that depend on Great Basin and Mojave Desert ecosystems. 70% of the Desert Refuge was also proposed for wilderness by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The currently proposed military expansion would irreparably destroy these wilderness quality landscapes, threaten the wildlife populations that thrive in them, and shut out the public from areas that have historically been heavily used for outdoor recreation.
I am also very concerned about the Fallon Range Training Complex proposed expansion and withdrawal of over 600,000 acres of public land in Nevada. The expansion overlaps several areas in northern Nevada identified by the Bureau of Land Management as exhibiting wilderness characteristics such as solitude and naturalness including portions of three Wilderness Study Areas - the Stillwater Range, Job Peak, and the Clan Alpine Mountains - and three Lands with Wilderness Characteristics units - Job Peak Contiguous, South Job Peak, and Stillwater Additions. Additionally, the expansion overlaps a significant portion of the Stillwater Wildlife Refuge, recognized by the National Audobon Society as a "Globally Important Area" due to the hundreds of thousands of species of birds that pass through this area during migration.
Together, these landscapes make up an ecologically rich and vast complex of wild public lands for wildlife, cultural sites, and outdoor recreation. The currently proposed military expansions would irreparably destroy these wilderness qualities, shut off public access, and significantly harm wildlife habitat. I urge you to stay engaged on these expansions and to reject any congressional amendments that you might encounter this congressional session that will include the Fallon Range Training Complex and Nellis Test and Training Range expansions.
Thank you for your continued leadership on public lands issues in Nevada.