"Rep. Dean Heller says he is worried about an Interior Department memo that calls for carving two national monuments out of parts of central and Northern Nevada to protect American Indian cultural sites and habitat for sensitive wildlife.
"The fact that this administration is already circulating internal memos to bypass Congress and the public process is troubling," Heller, R-Nev., said in a news release Tuesday. "There should never be a rush to develop proposals that will have long lasting impacts on the local communities."
Two undated entries from the memo list Heart of the Great Basin with ranges in Nye County and Owyhee Desert in Nevada and Oregon as areas the Interior Department is considering for designation as national monuments.
The Heart of the Great Basin contains "a globally unique assemblage of cultural, wildlife and historical values. ... Thousands of petroglyphs and stone artifacts provide insight to the area's inhabitants from as long as 12,000 years ago," one entry reads. The area contains creeks, aspen groves and habitat for sage grouse and pika, an alpine rodent."