Last Thursday, Guardians submitted scoping comments on the Forest Service’s proposal to allow oil and gas leasing and fracking in the Ruby Mountain Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in northern Nevada. The Forest Service is proposing to industrialize the Ruby Mountains based on a request from Secretary Zinke’s Bureau of Land Management.
Fracking this iconic area is a horrible idea for many reasons. The Ruby Mountains provide important habitat for Nevada’s largest herd of mule deer, the imperiled sage grouse, and Nevada’s official state fish, the Lahontan cutthroat trout. The mountains are also a popular recreational area.
And, to top it all off, the area has “very low development potential.” As Guardians has noted in the past, even the oil and gas industry has said that leasing in the Ruby Mountains is being driven by disreputable companies.
Unfortunately, the Forest Service is ready to bend over backwards to accommodate speculative oil and gas interests and destroy this beautiful area. The Forest Service is already proposing mitigation measures when it has the power, instead, to completely refuse BLM’s request to allow oil and gas leasing and fracking.
But, Guardians is holding the Forest Service’s feet to the fire. Guardians’ comments called on the Forest Service to use its power to shut down this short-sighted proposal now. And, Guardians will continue to watch-dog the agency until it and Zinke’s BLM stop targeting places like the Ruby Mountains for fracking.
Guardians will not allow speculative oil and gas development at the expense of America’s public lands.