Forest Service kills plan to seek oil, gas in Nevada’s Ruby Mountains
The U.S. Forest Service has struck down an unpopular plan to open federal land in the Ruby Mountains in Northern Nevada for oil exploration.
The agency announced Thursday it won’t allow oil and gas leases on almost 53,000 acres of forest land in the iconic mountain range, about 370 miles north of Las Vegas.
Bill Dunkelberger, supervisor for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, said his decision was based on overwhelming opposition to the idea and “unfavorable geologic conditions” that suggest there is little to no oil and gas potential in the area.
Since it began reviewing the proposal in 2017, the service received more than 14,000 mostly negative comments, including protests from conservation groups, the Nevada Department of Wildlife and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev.
“Public comments were nearly unanimous in favor of conserving the Rubies as an important place for wildlife, namely mule deer, sage grouse and trout,” said Pam Harrington, Nevada field coordinator for Trout Unlimited, in a written statement.
Late last month, Cortez Masto introduced a bill to ban oil and gas leasing throughout the forest service’s 450,000 acre Ruby Mountains Ranger District.
Cortez Masto issued a statement Thursday commending the forest service for “recognizing what the majority of Nevadans have loudly said.”
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