AUSTIN, Tex. -- Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas introduced the Castner Range National Monument Act (H.R. 2752) on Thursday. If it passes, the bill will designate the Castner Range as a national monument. This area is a 7,081-acre former Army artillery facility east of El Paso in the Franklin Mountains. The range’s wonderfully diverse Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem features dry arroyos and natural springs. There is also diverse wildlife, including 62 bird species, such as eagles and hawks, and mammals, such as mountain lions, foxes and rabbits. Establishing a national monument would create significant recreation and ecotourism opportunities for nearby El Paso.
Environment Texas State Director Luke Metzger issued the following statement:
“Cleaning up undetonated ordinances and opening up the Castner Range for recreational opportunities like hiking, camping and biking is good for El Paso and good for Texas. Texans need more nature and this area is a great example of land we can both enjoy and share with wildlife, including threatened species like the western burrowing owl. With support from businesses and veterans -- along with conservation groups -- there is no question that this land should be protected as a national monument.”
Environment America Public Lands Campaign Director Ellen Montgomery issued the following statement:
“We applaud Rep. Escobar’s Earth Day action. Introducing this important bill to protect more nature in Texas is simply the right thing to do. The Castner Range should be protected for many reasons, including the fact that it is home to a long list of wildlife, including 62 bird species. Legislation like this, which protects three different vegetation communities and threatened species while also ensuring magnificent habitat views and recreation opportunities, is exactly what we need to move toward our national goals of protecting 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.”