Castner Range National Monument | Photo courtesy Castner Range National Monument Act / Facebook
WASHINGTON, DC – Wednesday morning, Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX-16) filed the Castner Range Protection Act as an amendment to National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the legislation would designate the Castner Range as a national monument and conserve and protect the ecological, cultural, historical, and natural heritage of the majestic Texas landscape.
Local groups lauded the move, below are a couple of reactions.
Angel Pena, President at Nuestra Tierra, a Latinx conservation group rooted in Southwest, explained:
“Border communities thank Representative Escobar for her leadership in protecting one of El Paso’s most iconic and intact Chihuahuan Desert landscapes. The Castner Range National Monument Act is of great significance to frontera residents, who over the last Presidential Administration, have borne the brunt of xenophobia, mass shootings, a rampaging pandemic, and the militarization of our border. The protection of the Castner Range will ensure that fronterizos have the opportunity to find solace, comfort, and equitable access to the outdoors, right here in our community. This monument proposal recognizes just how intertwined our public lands and the environment are with issues centered around justice, race, and equity. As an organization born on the border, Nuestra Tierra is proud to support this effort and looks forward to the creation of the Castner Range National Monument.”
Janae’ Reneaud Field, Executive Director of The Frontera Land Alliance, a Texas-based environmental organization, added:
“The Frontera Land Alliance was founded in 2004 due to the urgent need to help preserve some of the important remaining natural and working lands in the greater El Paso, and Castner Range was at the top of the list. We knew then that we all have a shared responsibility to conserve our natural world and public lands. We all are stewards of our public lands by only using what we need, to make smarter choices in what we take from the lands, and to be able to pass on to future generations the beauty, wildlife, water, and cultural history.
Castner Range, is part of the Chihuahuan Desert, is a prime example of us investing in our areas conservation that in turn is an investment in our economy and our people. In addition, public lands offer up to our community equitable access for all to enjoy and benefit from what nature offers.
We celebrate Rep. Veronica Esocbar’s consistent advocacy in protecting Texas’ ecological legacy and we celebrate her work to advance the Castner Range National Monument Act.”