Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 7, 2018

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

Legislative Committee Votes to Oppose Oil Drilling, Fracking in Nevada's Ruby Mountains

CARSON CITY, Nev.— A Nevada legislative panel today voted to oppose fossil-fuel development in the Ruby Mountains and ask Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to prevent oil and gas leasing there.

The Nevada Legislative Committee on Public Lands agreed to send a letter to Perdue that recognizes the “irreplaceable scenic, biological, cultural, and recreational” values of the Ruby Mountains and urges the secretary to prevent the Forest Service from leasing there. The panel approved sending the letter as part of its work session.

“This vote shows that legislators are listening to the broad coalition of Nevadans who oppose turning our precious Ruby Mountains into an oilfield,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity, who proposed the measure. “Our representatives agree that drilling and fracking in the Rubies would destroy what makes them so special. In the face of overwhelming opposition, the Forest Service has no choice but to deny this destructive proposal.”

The committee’s 5-4 vote comes after almost a year of public outcry over the Forest Service’s plan. More than 10,000 comments opposing the proposal have been submitted to the Forest Service. The Elko Daily Free Press and Reno Gazette Journal have published a stream of letters reflecting opposition from a variety of perspectives. Thirteen conservation and sportsmen’s groups, along with outdoor retailer Patagonia, took out a full page ad in the Elko Daily urging the Forest Service to oppose leasing in the Rubies.

In addition, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) has repeatedly voiced opposition to the plan, stating in the Reno Gazette “I will fight like hell to protect” Nevadans’ right to enjoy the Rubies. And Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) tweeted that the proposal is “misguided” and that she “will stand with those fighting to protect the #RubyMountains.”

“This vote is a powerful message of resistance to those who want to industrialize our public lands and wreck wildlife habitat for corporate profits,” Donnelly said. “We commend the leadership of Assemblywoman Heidi Swank in ushering this proposal through.”

The Trump administration plans to lease 54,000 acres of the Ruby Mountains for oil and gas development, according to public records. Lease sales have not yet been scheduled.

Ruby Mountains

Ruby Mountains photo by Patrick Donnelly, Center for Biological Diversity. Images are available for media use.

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.

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