Monday, June 13, 2016

Conservationists intercede in Nevada race which now goes through a new National Monument

Conservationists are asking the White House Council on Environmental Quality to put the brakes on plans to allow a popular off-road, desert race from near Las Vegas to Reno to run through a newly established national monument in southern Nevada. The critics say the U.S. Bureau of Land Management went too far by at least tacitly approving a "massive off-road race course running directly through" the Basin and Range National Monument about 150 miles north of Las Vegas. "BLM is playing fast and loose with its legal obligations in order to let hundreds of vehicles roar through the fragile desert before the monument's protections can be solidified," said Jeff Ruch, executive director of the Washington-based Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. The move violates the National Environmental Policy Act and threatens to circumvent President Barack Obama's designation of the 1,100-square-mile monument last June, Rush said in a letter Friday to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, who oversees BLM, and Christy Goldfuss, managing director of the White House CEQ. The race sponsor, the Best in the Desert Racing Association based in Boulder City, bills the event as the longest off-highway vehicle race in the United States. About 300 motorcycles, trucks, dune buggies and other all-terrain vehicles are expected to compete this year. The route stretches 640 miles, starting in Alamo about 100 miles north of Las Vegas, with an overnight stop in Tonopah before finishing near Dayton, about 40 miles south of Reno...more

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