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For Immediate Release, January 7, 2013

Contact: Rob Mrowka, (702) 249-5821 or

Nevada Public-lands Fracking Plan Opposed

Controversial Drilling Technique Threatens State's Wildlife, Public Health

LAS VEGAS— The Center for Biological Diversity has submitted comments to the Bureau of Land Management opposing an oil and gas project that would use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on public lands that provide important habitat for the imperiled greater sage grouse and other wildlife. The Mary’s River Project seeks to drill 20 wells on BLM-managed public lands only four miles northwest of Wells, Nev. The total project area encompasses 20,622 acres — about 52 percent of which is administered by the federal agency, with the remainder in private ownership.

“Fracking on these sensitive public lands in Nevada could threaten human health and our spectacular natural heritage,” said Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based ecologist with the Center. “Use of this polluting technology so close to human habitation is fraught with danger, which is why many states and municipalities are fighting to ban fracking.”

Fracking is a controversial form of oil and gas extraction that involves blasting huge volumes of water, mixed with toxic chemicals and sand, deep into the earth to break up rock formations. Fracking has been linked to air and water pollution; one study identified more than 25 percent of reported fracking chemicals as known carcinogens. Other fracking chemicals harm the nervous, endocrine, immune and cardiovascular systems and can contribute to serious health problems in people and animals living near fracked wells.

Fracking has been tied to contamination of surface and ground waters; well water from household taps in some areas can be set on fire because of methane contamination in the water supply. The federal government recently confirmed fracking-related contamination of water in Pavillion, Wyo.

In many areas of the country, fracking has resulted in a boom in oil- or gas-field development, which can result in land degradation and habitat fragmentation for rare and endangered species.

“The area of this proposed project has been identified by the Nevada Department of Wildlife as essential and irreplaceable habitat for the greater sage grouse, a species being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act,” Mrowka added. “The last thing these rare, spectacular birds need is gas-field development in their habitat.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 450,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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