Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 13, 2017

Contact:  Patrick Donnelly, (702) 483-0449,

Trump Administration Leases Out 33,000 Acres of Nevada Public Lands for Fracking

Oil Development Threatens Endangered Species

LAS VEGAS— The Trump administration auctioned off more than 50 square miles of public lands for oil drilling and fracking on Tuesday in Nevada’s Great Basin desert. The leased areas include endangered species habitat. Numerous conservation groups protested the lease sale, citing violations of environmental laws.

The 17 parcels cover 33,483 acres and include lands in the White River watershed, home to four species of endemic fish, including the White River springfish and Pahranagat roundtail chub, protected under the Endangered Species Act. The fish live in a few isolated springs that are extremely vulnerable to the groundwater pollution created by fracking.

“Nevada’s water and wildlife pay the price for the Trump administration’s reckless decision to auction off these beautiful places for drilling and fracking,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Trump officials are hell-bent on auctioning off our public lands, and they have no regard for environmental laws. To serve corporate polluters, they’re flouting environmental regulations that safeguard endangered wildlife, wildlands and public health.”

The Bureau of Land Management’s permitting process for this oil and gas sale has been marked by controversy, including a cursory environmental assessment claiming that fracking upstream from sensitive springs would cause no environmental harm.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week concurred with the BLM that fracking adjacent to sensitive springs wouldn’t threaten the fish that live there. They cited no scientific data, instead relying on BLM’s inadequate mitigation measures to protect the fish.

“BLM has steamrolled the Fish and Wildlife Service into making absurd claims about the safety of fracking,” Donnelly said. “It’s obvious that drilling and fracking upstream from a spring containing endangered fish poses a risk to that species. The Trump administration is once again putting politics before science, and we intend to hold it responsible.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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