A Nevada legislative panel voted on September 7 to oppose a Forest Service proposal to allow drilling and fracking in the Ruby Mountains. The nine-person committee voted 5-4 to oppose the measure presented by the Feds to lease federal land in the stunning mountain range.
The Ruby Mountains are a pristine range in the eastern portion of the state often referred to as the Swiss Alps of Nevada. This extensive mountain range features stunning peaks well over 10,000 feet. It is also home to the infamous Terminal Cancer Couloir.
The remote geographic location of these mountains means “The Rubies” do not receive much human traffic.
“The Trump administration plans to lease 54,000 acres of the Ruby Mountains for oil and gas development, according to public records. Lease sales have not yet been scheduled.” – Biologicaldiversity.org
Local politicians cited public outcry from conservationists, Native American tribes, and hunters opposing oil/drilling in the area. Senator Julia Ratti, D-Reno stated that committee received over 13,000 public comments about the Forest Service proposal. The overwhelming majority of the responses were negative.
Obvious environmental concerns about drilling and fracking in fragile environments abounded. Groundwater contamination, methane & greenhouse gas pollution, along with potential damage to ecological systems were all mentioned as potential threats.
“Tony Wasley, director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife, told the committee that in Wyoming, where oil and gas exploration is more prevalent, it’s been shown to disrupt wildlife. ‘There have been significant impacts to mule deer migrations, sage grouse strutting activity.'” –Reno Gazette-Journal
This vote to shoot down the Forest Service proposal is critical. According to BiologicalDiversity.org, the Forest Service now has no choice but to oppose the idea of leasing land in the Ruby Mountains. That said, there could be more news out of Nevada on this topic in the coming months.