Interior Department to Consider Gold Butte National Monument Status

By KEN RITTER and SCOTT SONNER, Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was expected to make a stop Sunday in the hometown of Cliven Bundy, a Nevada rancher accused of organizing an armed standoff three years ago that forced federal agents to end a roundup of his cattle.

Zinke’s planned stop in Bunkerville, Nevada — about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northeast of Las Vegas — is part of his tour of national monuments being scrutinized by the Trump administration.

Trump announced the review of 27 monuments in May, saying the designations imposed by previous presidents amounted to a massive federal land grab. Monument designations protect federal land from energy development and other activities.

Zinke plans the stop in Bunkerville ahead of visits Monday to the nearby Gold Butte and Basin and Range national monuments, which cover a combined 1,500 square miles (3,885 sq. kilometers) — more than twice the size of Delaware.

 Gold Butte is the grazing area at the center of the cattle round-up and armed standoff in April 2014 involving Bundy and federal land management agents.

The monument is home to pioneer-era and Native American artifacts, and rare and threatened wildlife, including the Mojave desert tortoise and desert bighorn sheep.

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