May 19, 2015

Security no reason not to protect lands

The article “Obama considering another national monument in Nevada” (lasvegassun.com, May 7) underscores why I don’t trust uninformed decision-makers with national security issues.

Despite claiming to be “appalled and deeply concerned” about the potential security implications of a proposed national monument backed by local tourism and conservation groups, Rep. Cresent Hardy didn’t appear to consult experts on public land management in training zones or members of the military community already using public lands for operations. Moreover, the document Hardy leaked says: “Nothing in this proclamation shall preclude low-level overflights of military aircraft ...”

As a U.S. Army Kosovo and Iraq War veteran, I understand firsthand the need for unit readiness and what role these areas play in preparing our forces to handle threats in a combat zone. I have participated in extensive field exercises and know the effort our military takes in preserving training grounds. A 2013 case study that found “the designation of federal lands under (military training routes) ... can enhance the long-term viability of a military installation while protecting other important natural, ecological, social and recreational values.”

National security should not be used as a ploy to oppose permanent protection of our public lands. Our men and women in uniform deserve better.

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