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Press Releases

LCV and Nevada Conservation League celebrate Senator Cortez Masto’s protections for public lands and oil and gas leasing reform

Mar 4, 2021

Nick Abraham,, 206-833-7021

Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto introduced the End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act. This bill would prohibit the Bureau of Land Management from leasing lands for drilling where there is little to no oil and gas potential and prioritize other uses on public lands, like wildlife habitat or recreation, in areas where mineral resources are light. Senator Masto also introduced the Ruby Mountains Protection Act, which would protect 450,000 acres of National Forest from new oil and gas leasing. This joins a number of bills currently in Congress protecting millions of acres of vital public lands. In response League of Conservation Voters and Nevada Conservation League release the following statements:

“For decades, the oil industry has bought up public lands with little to no development potential, locking up lands and siphoning the public’s resources.  It is time to end this practice and put our public lands to better use on behalf of conservation, recreation, and appropriately-sited clean energy. Thanks to Senator Cortez Masto for her leadership to better protect vital public lands in Nevada, including the Ruby Mountains, and across the country.” – Alex Taurel, Conservation Program Director with League of Conservation Voters

“Speculative oil and gas leasing has left millions of acres of Nevada’s lands that bear little or zero potential to be auctioned off for dirty energy development, and many times for bids as low as $2 per acre. It’s time to abolish this wasteful and destructive practice. Ending speculative oil and gas leasing prevents more pernicious land grabs by the fossil fuel industry that generate hardly any return to taxpayers and puts wildlife and surrounding communities at risk, all while prioritizing our country’s transition to a clean energy future. We applaud Senator Cortez Masto for continuing to stand up for Nevada’s valued outdoor spaces and ensuring the efficient management of our public lands in a manner that benefits our communities.” – Paul Selberg, Executive Director of Nevada Conservation League and Education Fund

“Nevada’s Ruby Mountains are home to an abundance of wildlife, precious waters, miles of trails, and breathtaking scenery that attract visitors from all over the country and bolster the small business economy of Elko and White Pine County. And Nevadans intend to keep it this way. In recent years, the Ruby Mountains have been at the epicenter of a public land battle, facing threats to oil and gas drilling. Today, we are grateful to see Senator Cortez Masto leading the charge to codify the protection of this treasured landscape from permanent destruction of fossil fuel extraction with the introduction of the Ruby Mountains Protection Act. We will continue to stand by her in this fight and eagerly await the full protection of our Ruby Mountains.” – Paul Selberg, Executive Director of Nevada Conservation League and Education Fund