EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On Thursday, eight retired general and flag officers sent a letter to the Biden Administration calling for Castner Range, which is part Fort Bliss, to be designated as a National Monument through the Antiquities Act.

On April 23, 2021, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar and El Paso environmental leaders reintroduced the Castner Range National Monument Act, which, if passed, will designate Castner Range as a national monument.

The retired officers applauded the President’s America the Beautiful initiative and the restoration of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments and called on the President to similarly designate Castner Range with national monument status.

Doing so would “ensure military and cultural heritage sites, endangered species, scientific and environmental wonders, and an awe-inspiring landscape, are permanently protected,” the letter reads.

“Moreover, a National Monument designation of Castner Range by President Biden would benefit marginalized communities, specifically indigenous and Latino peoples. These communities have been paramount to our military’s success, but disproportionately bear the brunt of climate impacts and traditionally have less access to nature. Additionally, designating Castner Range as a National Monument would stimulate the local economy through expanded outdoor recreational opportunities.”

excerpt from letter sent to president biden

Signers include BG Steven Anderson, USA (Ret), Brig.Gen. Ricardo Aponte, USAF (Ret), BGen Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret), MG Paul Eaton, USA (Ret), BGen Leif Hendrickson, USMC (Ret), RADM Mike Mathis, USN (Ret), MG Gale Pollock, USA (Ret), and RADM Mike Smith, USN (Ret).

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.