Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 14, 2019

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

Forest Service Rejects Oil, Gas Leasing in Nevada's Ruby Mountains

Overwhelming Opposition Trumps Fracking Proposal

ELKO, Nev.— The U.S. Forest Service today rejected an earlier plan to lease public lands for oil drilling and fracking in Nevada’s iconic Ruby Mountains. The Trump administration proposal to auction off 54,000 acres of the Rubies was met with overwhelming public opposition in Nevada.

“This is a resounding victory for the Rubies and the wildlife that call them home,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s a testament to the power of the people to resist the Trump administration’s destructive frack-anywhere agenda.”

The Ruby Mountains, in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, are famous for the state’s largest mule deer herd, world-class skiing and breathtaking vistas. Rising 7,000 feet above the floor of the Great Basin desert, the Rubies are a majestic sky island harboring robust populations of Nevada’s most cherished wildlife.

The Forest Service’s original plan to auction off the Rubies prompted Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) last month to introduce the Ruby Mountains Protection Act (S. 258) to permanently ban oil and gas leasing on 450,000 acres.

The fracking plan also brought more than 13,000 comment letters in opposition, concerns from the Nevada Department of Wildlife and efforts from the Nevada State Legislature Public Lands Committee to protect the Rubies from leasing and fracking.  

“We’re grateful to Senator Cortez Masto, Assemblywoman Heidi Swank and the thousands of Nevadans who spoke out against this disastrous proposal,” said Donnelly.  “Now it’s time to pass that bill to make these critical protections permanent.”

The area continues to be threatened by oil and gas leasing. The Bureau of Land Management has offered up hundreds of thousands of acres of public land for fracking adjacent to the Ruby Mountains, including parcels along the border of the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Additional BLM parcels could be auctioned as soon as June.

Ruby Mountains

Ruby Mountains 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 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

More press releases