Jan 26, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Tomorrow is the second anniversary of Executive Order 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. This historic order directed the United States to conserve at least 30 percent of lands, waters, and ocean by 2030 in order to address the climate and biodiversity crisis. This is the most ambitious conservation goal in U.S. history, yet CAP recently reported that the Biden Administration has made few objective accomplishments towards reaching this goal.
There are numerous ripe opportunities for President Biden to make bounds in reaching the 30 percent conservation goal including through using the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments. So to honor America’s greatest conservation goal ever GreenLatinos is calling on the Biden Administration to pledge to designate Castner Range National Monument come springtime.
The letter points to the myriad of jobs and economic growth that will result from national monument designation. GreenLatinos’ vision for environmental liberation includes the people of El Paso and the region working in recreation, conservation area interpretation, clean up, natural resource management, and tracking progress towards achieving the 30 percent goal, and advancing the cleanup and opening of Castner Range to the public.
The Castner Range Forever Coalition and communities across El Paso, TX and neighboring regions have been advocating for the permanent conservation of the local landscape as Castner Range National Monument. This national monument would project critical wildlife habitat and propel the U.S. military’s efforts to recover unexploded ordnance from the Castner Range region remaining from 20th century use of the mountain range for military weapons training. Since the weapons range closed in 1966, the majority of the Castner Range has been closed to the public. As such, El Paso exists as one of the most nature-deprived communities in America. 90 percent of Latinos/as/es and almost 95 percent of low-income communities in the area surrounding the proposed monument are nature deprived.
Since the spring of 2022 government officials including Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, U.S. Army Under Secretary Gabe Camarill, and U.S. House Representative Veronica Escobar made lauded visits to Castner Range, indicating that Castner Range is a priority for the Biden Administration. Yet, no progress has been made. President Biden’s first visit to El Paso while in office earlier in January went by without acknowledgment of the community’s 50 years of advocating for conserving Castner Range.
In order for the President to be able to campaign on definitive achievements in addressing the most urgent crisis of our time, this is the year for action. America needs his pledge to designate Castner Range National Monument for our climate future.