WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is establishing national monuments in Nevada and Texas and creating a marine sanctuary in US waters near remote Pacific islands southwest of Hawaii.

The Democratic president will announce the measures Tuesday at a White House summit on conservation actions at the Department of the Interior.

Biden said in November that he intends to appoint Avi Kwa Ame, a desert mountain in southern Nevada that is considered sacred to Native Americans, as a national monument. The site encompasses more than 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) and includes Spirit Mountain, a peak northwest of Laughlin named Avi Kwa Ame (ah-VEE’ kwa-meh) by the Fort Mojave Tribe and listed on the National Register of Places Historical.

the rugged landscape near the Arizona and California state lines is home to bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, and a large concentration of Joshua trees, some of which are over 900 years old.

In Texas, Biden plans to create the Castner Range National Monument in El Paso. The designation will protect cultural, scientific and historical objects within the monument’s boundaries, honor U.S. veterans, service members and tribal nations, and expand access to outdoor recreation on public lands, the House said. White.

Located at Fort Bliss, Castner Range served as a training and testing site for the US Army during World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The Army stopped training at the site and closed Castner Range in 1966.

Together, the two new national monuments protect nearly 514,000 acres (208,000 hectares) of public land.

In the Pacific, Biden will direct the Commerce Department to consider initiating a new national marine sanctuary designation within 30 days to protect all US waters around remote Pacific islands. If completed, the new sanctuary would help ensure the United States meets Biden’s goal of conserving at least 30% of ocean waters under US jurisdiction by 2030, the White House said.

Biden will also announce a series of steps to preserve, restore and expand access to public land and water across the country, the White House said. The proposals seek to modernize the management of America’s public lands, harness the power of the ocean to help combat climate change and better conserve wildlife corridors. Biden will also propose new spending to improve access to outdoor recreation, promote tribal conservation, and reduce the risk of wildfires.

Biden’s actions come as he faces heavy criticism from environmental groups and youth activists for his approval of the huge Willow oil drilling project in Alaska.

Biden has made combating global warming a central part of his agenda, and White House officials have championed efforts to move the United States toward meeting Biden’s goal of reduce greenhouse gas emissions that warm the planet in half by 2030.

But the Willow decision has alienated supporters, particularly young activists skeptical of political engagement at the same time Biden plans to announce his re-election campaign.

Climate activists are expected to gather outside the Department of the Interior on Tuesday to condemn what they call Biden’s «climate hypocrisy» and demand that the administration reverse course on Willow.

The Willow Project has captured world attention in recent weeks as a #stopwillow campaign went viral on social media platforms, notably garnering over 600 million views on TikTok and amassing over 4 million signatures on a change.org petition, making it one of the most popular petitions on the history of the website.

White House officials have acknowledged outrage among Biden supporters over Willow, but stressed that oil giant ConocoPhillips has held leases in that area of ​​Alaska for decades, strengthening the company’s legal right to drill with headquarters in Houston.

Environmental groups have already sued in a renewed effort to block Willow.

“Biden has the authority to revoke approval of Willow, withhold permits for more fossil fuel projects, and phase out federal fossil fuel production on public lands and waters,” said Cassidy DiPaola, spokeswoman for People Vs. Fossil Fuels, a coalition from groups lobbying Biden to end oil drilling and other fossil fuel projects.

Democratic Rep. Dina Titus and other Nevada lawmakers have been looking to protect the rugged region near the Mojave National Preserve from development, including solar farms and a proposed wind farm.

“Our founding story puts us squarely in the center of this area,” said Shan Lewis, vice president of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe. «Our efforts are to protect these places of importance and sanctity while maintaining their integrity as a place of home and worship.»

Biden designated its first national monument, in Colorado, last year. In 2021, he restored the boundaries of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah after President Donald Trump, a Republican, cut them significantly.

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