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Elko Daily Free Press, May 17, 2014

Conservation group protests fracking in Nevada

LAS VEGAS — A conservation group against fracking filed a formal protest on an upcoming oil and gas lease sale in north-central Nevada.

The Center for Biological Diversity is against the proposed July 17 sale, of about 174,000 acres around the areas of Tonopah and Austin.

“Fracking in other parts of this country has repeatedly shown the practice to be dangerous both for human health and the environment,” said Rob Mrowka, a senior scientist with the Center. “It poses an imminent threat to one of Nevada’s scarcest resources — water — as well as clean air and wildlife habitats. And of course it significantly adds to greenhouse gas pollution and exacerbates climate change.”

The Center is calling on the Bureau of Land Management to cancel the Nevada lease sales as part of a nationwide shift toward safer energy sources.

“While water is scarce, sunshine is abundant in Nevada,” Mrowka said. “We should be ramping up investment in clean and well-planned geothermal, distributed solar and wind facilities here, because our citizens, environment and natural heritage deserve the best.”

Proponents have argued that responsible fracking does not contaminate groundwater, and the amount of water used to frack a well is comparatively small.

The Western States Petroleum Association said the average oil well fracking in California in 2013 used about 127,000 gallons of water. A golf course, the group states, typically uses 353,000 gallons per day for irrigation. An average family of four uses about 146,000 in a year.

Copyright 2014 Elko Daily Free Press.

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton