Call Rep. Paul Cook regarding Mojave Trails and Castle Mountains National Monuments (with sample script):
On June 8 Rep. Paul Cook sent a letter to Secretary Ryan Zinke to eliminate the southern portion of the Mojave Trails National Monument, cutting its overall size by about 1/3. The eliminated portion includes the Cadiz dunes and surrounding desert. He reasoned that the monument ended up larger than its original intention and requires the exclusion of multiple private holdings. Many conservationists are convinced that this proposal’s true intention is to aid Cadiz Incorporated’s plan to pump groundwater on land adjacent to the monument and sell it to cities. Cadiz Inc. plans to pump as much as 16.3 billion gallons of groundwater, transporting via a 43 mile pipeline along an existing railroad line, part of which would also be removed from the monument.
Though Cook denies this allegation, he was among 18 members of Congress who wrote to Zinke in March, urging him to support the Cadiz project and ignore restrictions to the potential uses of railroad lands. The appointment of David Bernhardt, partner and shareholder in the law firm that owns shares in Cadiz, as Deputy Interior Secretary is also of concern to conservation groups. Scott Slater, Cadiz Inc. president and CEO has stated that whether or not the lands bordering his project are removed makes no difference to the project.
Cook also recommended that Zinke look at shrinking Castle Mountains National Monument, which was not on the list of monuments slated for review due to its small size. Cook argues that it was created only to prevent the reopening of Castle Mountain Mine.
Whether Cook’s proposal to shrink the size of Mojave Trails National Monument is linked to the Cadiz project or not, it is clear that Cook did not consult or inform local constituents or environmental groups before making his recommendations. His proposal was made before the public comment deadline and he ignored thousands of local letters of support gathered by environmental groups.
Representative Cook, you have ignored your constituents by refusing to hold town hall meetings. Your proposal to reduce the size of Mojave Trails and Castle Mountains National Monuments even before the public comment period was closed is just another example of your unwillingness to represent us or explain your actions. This is unacceptable and I firmly oppose your support of this Administration in its efforts to shrink lawfully created National Monuments.
OUR MOJAVE MONUMENTS: Your comment will count!
On April 26, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order instructing the Department of the Interior (DOI) to review the designation of national monuments under the Antiquities Act. This action directly attacks two California desert national monuments designated in 2016: Sand to Snow and Mojave Trails.
The Department of the Interior has announced a public comment period to see whether the public supports our national monuments. The Mojave Desert Land Trust has designed a way to make it easy to let the DOI know we support Sand to Snow and Mojave Trails National Monuments and why they are important to us.
Here’s what you do: Go to www.mdlt.org/desert-defenders and provide your comments. It is a simple on-line form for your name, your email and your comments. They provide an example comment, or you can craft your own. The Mojave Desert Land Trust will collect all comments submitted through this process and will make sure your comments get counted in the public comment process.
Take action today and support our California desert national monuments!