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Reinforcements for Obama? Nevada Tribal Police Standing By

December 1, 2008

Las Vegas, NV – A Nevada tribe is offering to help the new administration keep watch over public lands. The Reno Sparks Indian Colony is offering President-elect Obama its help in providing security on Indian and other federally owned public lands. The tribe criticizes Bush Administration budget cuts, which it says have led to under-staffing at agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service.

Tribal Chairman Arlan Melendez says often only one agent is left to patrol thousands of acres of public land in Nevada, the state with the most public land in the nation. Tribal police stand ready to help fill the void, according to Melendez.

"Whether it's tribal land under the management of the tribe, or allowing the tribe to assist on BLM or Forest Service land; we keep the land, and the environment, and the air, and the water, and the animals, to preserve them as best we can."

Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, says public lands and related outdoor recreation, including enforcing laws on those lands, can be part of the new "green economy" that President-elect Obama says he supports.

"We can't forget that the engines that drive our economy are not only in Detroit. Investing in clean water and clean air and conservation makes sound fiscal sense. That amounts to supporting one in 20 jobs in America."

Tribal reservations are small relative to the public lands that typically surround them. Tribal police are offering to help enforce rules on lands they say are currently under-protected.

Outdoor activities contribute $730 billion annually to the nation's economy.

Michael Clifford/Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV