Guardians moved to protect the unique beauty of the Ruby Mountains of northern Nevada this week by filing a protest (administrative appeal) against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s plans to open up 313,000+ acres of public lands for fracking in June.
As we’ve noted before, the Rubies 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.
Unfortunately, this scheme to giveaway our public lands to the oil and gas industry is not an isolated attempt to frack over Nevada’s Ruby Mountains.
Over the last year and a half, the Bureau of Land Management has held four lease sales and pushed the Forest Service to consider a lease sale right underneath the Rubies on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. As a result, our federal agencies have put over a million acres in Nevada on the auction block, and most of these leases are with 20 miles of the Rubies.
To make matters even more frustrating, the areas proposed for leasing have no to very low development potential. Guardians has consistently raised this issue with the Bureau of Land Management, and even industry has stated that the supposed interest in the area in “weird” and speculative.
But, the Bureau of Land Management has continued to push ahead. The result? The agency is spending your taxpayer money greasing the skids for the oil and gas industry to pad their balance sheets.
To top it all off, industry literally has no need for these lands because it’s already hoarding thousands of acres. In Nevada, only 2% of leased lands are actually producing, far lower than the national average of 46% (which itself is pitiful).
Thankfully, Guardians is raising creative arguments like this in each and every lease sale coming out of Nevada.
We will continue to fight back to protect the American West from wanton speculation and fracking. This is our land, and we will make our voices heard.