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Why is a bill now before Congress so important to the future of Castner Range?

Castner Range in Northeast El Paso (Credit: KFOX14)

As KFOX14 reported last week, El Paso Congressman Beto O'Rourke said the former U.S. Army artillery range should now be “preserved in perpetuity.”

O'Rourke said he managed to put a provision in this year's National Defense Authorization Act that will protect Castner for generations to come.

Because the 7,000-acre area has been off-limits to the public and development since it closed more than half a century ago, its natural environment has been well-preserved.

U.S. Rep. O'Rourke said the range includes more than 40 archaeological and historic sites that date back as far as 10,000 years, along with unique vegetation, wildlife and underground aquifers.

In recent years, there's been a strong community-wide effort to make the area a national monument. O'Rourke said his provision, spelled out in section 2846 of the National Defense Authorization Act, is an important step in achieving that goal.

He said it ensures that no commercial enterprise, permanent or temporary road, or the use of motor vehicles or aircraft will be allowed at Castner Range. The legislation will also ban the construction of any structures on the site.

While the bill has passed the House, it still needs to pass the Senate and be signed into law by President Trump. O'Rourke expects that to happen by the end of this year.

On Tuesday, O'Rourke said the bill turned into a law to protect the future of Castner Range in northeast El Paso.


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