Congressman Steven Horsford Defends Nevada’s Desert National Wildlife Refuge In Department of Defense Land Take Over Proposal

October 23, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Steven Horsford today spoke out to oppose an ongoing Department of Defense proposal to expand the Air Force’s Nevada Test and Training Range into the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. The Congressman released the following statement: 

“As a Nevadan, I know how important the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is to my state. The Wildlife Refuge is one of the most pristine and unaltered landscapes in the U.S. It has been protected as a vital sanctuary for Nevada’s natural environment and wildlife for more than 80 years,” Congressman Horsford said, “I will do everything in my power to preserve this untouched habitat and biodiverse landscape for the people of Nevada.”

“I am honored that our state is so crucial to our country’s national defense; however, the Department of Defense already has nearly 3 million acres in southern Nevada for testing and training — with a portion of more than 800,000 acres of the Refuge already closed to public access. Despite overwhelming public opposition, the Department of Defense has not reconsidered any portion of its proposal, which would close most of the refuge to public access and threaten Nevada’s state animal--the bighorn sheep. Nevadans deserve continued access to this treasured desert habitat.”

At roughly 1.5 million acres in size, the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the largest wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states and is home to over 320 species of birds, 52 species of mammals, nearly 40 species of amphibians and reptiles, including the federally protected Mojave desert tortoise, and over 500 species of plants.

Twenty years ago, Congress decided to overlap the boundaries of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and the Nevada Test and Training Range, allowing the Department of Defense to use 55 percent of the total area of the Refuge – 826,000 acres – for military purposes. The Department of Defense now seeks to add another 300,000 acres to the NTTR.