The Bureau of Land Management chose to prepare an environmental assessment rather than an environmental impact statement, which would require much more analysis and public involvement.
The site of the project is significant habitat for sage grouse, and the proposed mitigations measures are both insufficient and not in compliance with the current body of science on sage grouse. In fact, the Center brought to light letters between the BLM and the Nevada Department of Wildlife showing that the agency essentially ignored the Department’s concerns regarding impacts on the species.
There are other species concerns, such as the presence of a migratory bat cave visited by more than a million Mexican short-tailed bats annually, as well as the presence of the imperiled pygmy rabbit on site.
The site and adjacent area are the scene of a massacre of American Indians in the late 1880s, considered as sacred ground by local tribes.
The project would involve industrialization of a pristine mountain valley, in the process destroying the view of the wilderness from Route 50 — a designated “Heritage Highway” — as well as from Great Basin National Park.