Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, April 9, 2018

Contact:  Patrick Donnelly, Center for Biological Diversity, (702) 483-0449,            
Shaaron Netherton, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, (775) 324-7667,
Brian Beffort, Sierra Club, (775) 848-7783,

Forest Service Reopens Comment Period for Fracking in Nevada's Ruby Mountains

Public Encouraged to Submit Stories, Photographs

ELKO, Nev.— The U.S. Forest Service has reopened the comment period for oil and gas leasing on public lands in Nevada’s Ruby Mountains after receiving overwhelming public opposition. The Forest Service is proposing to lease out 54,000 acres of the Ruby Mountains for oil and gas development.

The Ruby Mountains are the crown jewel of Nevada’s Great Basin, a rugged mountain wilderness of trout-filled creeks and scenic alpine terrain, teeming with wildlife such as mule deer, bighorn sheep and greater sage grouse.

“Drilling and fracking in Nevada’s most iconic mountain range are wildly unpopular,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We applaud the Forest Service for acknowledging the significant controversy generated by this proposal and allowing the public additional time to comment.”

A coalition of environmental groups submitted detailed comments on the proposal, noting the potential for significant harms to Nevada’s wildlife, water and wildlands if fracking is allowed in the Ruby Mountains. The groups include the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, the Wilderness Society, Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of Nevada Wilderness, Western Watersheds Project, Basin and Range Watch, Great Basin Resource Watch, Nevada Conservation League, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada and the Wildlands Network. In addition to conservation groups, more than 10,000 people submitted comments to the Forest Service opposing the plan.

Conservation groups are encouraging members of the public to share personal stories and experiences in the Ruby Mountains with the Forest Service. The Center is compiling photographs and stories for submission to the Forest Service before the deadline. They can be sent to by April 22.

“We want the public to share their personal experience of this special mountain wilderness,” said Shaaron Netherton, executive director at Friends of Nevada Wilderness. “Hikers, hunters, mountain bikers, fisherman, birdwatchers and other public-lands users all have important stories to tell. The Forest Service should consider this as they decide whether to turn the Rubies into an oil patch.”

“The Rubies are one of the most inappropriate place in all of Nevada to drill for oil,” said Brian Beffort, director of the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club. “They’re an iconic emblem of the Silver State’s wild and indigenous heritage, and we can’t let them be ruined for corporate profits.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Friends of Nevada Wilderness is dedicated to preserving all qualified Nevada public lands as wilderness, protecting all present and potential wilderness from ongoing threats, informing the public about the values of and need for wilderness, and restoring and improving the management of wild lands.

Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is the nation’s oldest conservation group, working hard to promote renewable energy solutions, ensure a clean, safe water supply, and protect our natural, open spaces.

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