Sportsmen for the Rubies supports bill to curb speculative oil and gas leasing

Bill would update leasing policies and help protect areas with high hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation values

For Immediate Release

January 17, 2019

Contact: Carl Erquiaga or Pam Harrington: Sportsmen for the Rubies

Carl: (775) 219-6185 

Pam: (775) 870-0015

(January 17, 2020) ELKO, Nev. – Nevada sportsmen today voiced support for legislation that ensures responsible energy development on public land. 

The End Speculative Oil and Gas Leasing Act of 2020 (S.3202) introduced by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), would require the Bureau of Land Management to not lease lands that have little or no potential for the development of oil and gas reserves. The legislation would apply to all federal lands across the West, specifically to lands that are considered low or no potential for oil and gas development.

Sen. Cortez Masto is also sponsoring a separate bill, the Ruby Mountain Protection Act (S.258), which would prevent speculative leasing in one of Nevada’s most revered hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation areas. 

“In 2019 over a million acres of land in Nevada were offered for lease, yet less than seven percent of that acreage even received a bid,” said Carl Erquiaga, the Nevada field representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.  “Agencies are currently spending taxpayer dollars offering low potential parcels for sale that nobody wants to buy, and these precious resources could be better spent managing the lands and resources that we all own. We want to thank the Senator for her work on this important legislation.”

90 percent of lands managed by BLM are available for oil and gas leasing, even in places with little or no potential for development. 

Sen. Cortez Masto’s bill doesn’t change the BLMs mission or mandate, but it would require that the agency have current and up to date plans for oil and gas development before allowing leasing. Importantly, the bill would not impact the availability of medium and high potential lands for leasing or affect existing oil and gas operations. 

“This is a common-sense bill,” said Pam Harrington, a field staffer for Trout Unlimited based in Crescent Valley, Nev. “Requiring upfront planning before making leasing decisions that will impact generations of Nevadans is the right thing to do and we appreciate Sen Cortez Masto working on this issue.”

Sportsmen for the Rubies is made up of 14 Nevada hunting and fishing groups who are focused on protecting safeguarding the Ruby Mountains from inappropriate oil and gas development.