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BLM to auction off 304 square miles of public land in Nevada

 

Nevada Mule Deer
Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward with auctioning off 304 square miles of public land in Nevada. The land will be used for fossil fuel development despite the impact to wildlife and surface and ground water contamination. The auction will consist of public lands in northern Nevada, which includes the Big Smoky, Diamond and Railroad valleys and the Diamond, Fish Creek and Sulphur Creek mountain ranges, The Wisconsin Gazette reports.

During the Obama administration, any discussion about the land – roughly 104,000 acres of the 195,732 acres up for sale – for fossil fuel development was shelved because of environmental concerns. Now, under the Trump administration, the BLM has re-instated the controversial auction – despite legal protests from environmental and conservation groups.

“It is outrageous that profits for oil and gas corporations trump protecting our precious desert groundwater,” Bob Fulkerson, state director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, told The Wisconsin Gazette. “The BLM must cease cosigning on their plunder of Nevada.”

The move affects wildlife like mule deer, greater sage grouse, the threatened Railroad Valley springfish and “other species that live in springs fed by aquifers threatened by fracking,” according to The Wisconsin Gazette. It also impacts everyone who lives within the region and goes against the Paris climate agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius.

“The government’s environmental analysis failed to truly address obvious dangers of leasing these public lands to oil companies,” John Hadder, director of Great Basin Resource Watch, told The Wisconsin Gazette. “Oil and gas extraction is a dirty business that will release toxic chemicals into the air and water upon which communities depend. We urge federal officials to end this irresponsible leasing practice.”

While BLM has decided to move forward with the auction, there is still a 30-day period for appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals to any group or individual that wants to protest this decision.

 

 

34 Comments

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Dan L. - posted 3 days ago on 06-19-2017 01:45:15 pm
Tucson, AZ
goHUNT INSIDER

Sad.

Erik S. - posted 3 days ago on 06-19-2017 03:24:10 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

This land will never be the same, Nevada has so many "dead" areas where healthy streams and wildlife used to flourish. Another reason why this current administration needs to go!

Erik S. - posted 3 days ago on 06-19-2017 03:24:14 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

This land will never be the same, Nevada has so many "dead" areas where healthy streams and wildlife used to flourish. Another reason why this current administration needs to go!

Erik S. - posted 3 days ago on 06-19-2017 03:24:16 pm
goHUNT INSIDER

This land will never be the same, Nevada has so many "dead" areas where healthy streams and wildlife used to flourish. Another reason why this current administration needs to go!

tavisrogers
Tavis R. - posted 2 days ago on 06-19-2017 04:51:43 pm
Oak Creek, Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

Is this a sale or a lease? Typically, the BLM leases to petroleum companies. It remains under BLM ownership with public access.

With effective environmental stewardship, extractive industry can coexist and actually provide the funding and resources to improve critical fish and wildlife habitats. The focus should be to ensure that regulations are in place for the utilization of these lands in a responsible manner and protection of critical habitats with strong requirements for reclamation of any disturbed areas.

Nevada has so many "dead" areas because of the region and climatic conditions in the state. Those "dead" areas are not that "dead" and have numerous species that have evolved over time to fit, survive and thrive in those habitats. Those habitats have had similar climate since at least the last ice age (13,000 years ago) and have not had "healthy streams" or large populations of wildlife supported by adequate water supplies since that time.

Extractive industries have actually improved water and land habitats in many areas of Nevada. A little driving around the mines west of Elko and looking at the wildlife that is using the reclamation areas and water sources indicates that there is higher productivity and significantly more wildlife in those areas than in the surrounding "undisturbed" areas.

The current administration is doing the right thing in leasing this land for petroleum exploration and development. This lease will potentially reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources (where they absolutely do not care one iota about the damage to the environment), provide employment for Americans, improve the local economy and can provide funding and resources for improvement of critical fish and wildlife habitat in Nevada.

Hopefully, with Zinke heading up the DOI, the BLM will focus on and improve sustainable development of our natural resources for the good of all.

Dan L. - posted 2 days ago on 06-19-2017 05:06:49 pm
Tucson, AZ
goHUNT INSIDER

Tavis,
Very good points. Speaking for myself I hope you are correct and the land will be well managed and preserved. Again speaking for myself I think the troubling issue is the fear of public changing hands to private companies and access denied to the public.

tavisrogers
Tavis R. - posted 2 days ago on 06-19-2017 05:35:13 pm
Oak Creek, Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

Dan, I agree 100%.

Additionally, transfer of our BLM and USFS lands to State ownership would be a disaster. A cursory review of the history of State ownership of public lands (State Trust Lands) shows that the majority of those lands have been sold off and closed to public access in several states (Colorado, Nebraska, Arkansas).

In the grand scheme, in order to keep our public lands open for hunting and fishing, they need to generate income. If they do not generate income, eventually they will be sold off and we will all lose.

Responsible development of resources on our public lands - whether it be timber, oil, gas, copper, coal, or grazing is absolutely necessary in order to keep them open for public access long-term. The revenue generated from those leases and the tax revenue generated from the industries is what has and will continue to keep public lands in public hands.

Believe me, shutting down the multiple use concept of public lands is not in our best interest and will certainly cause the transfer of those lands to private ownership in short order - no matter which political party is in power.

I firmly believe that the "preservationist" policies pushed by the left are directly aimed at speeding up the process of transfer of our public lands to private ownership with back-door deals. It has happened before and, with the leverage presented to congresses that the ownership of these lands that are not paying for themselves, it will be an easy decision to sell them off. We will all lose if that happens.

Lance V. - posted 2 days ago on 06-19-2017 09:31:28 pm
Coeur D Alene, ID
goHUNT INSIDER

Let's leave the Paris climate agreement out of Western Hunting articles. Do we really want the threads to be about global warming, climate change, or whatever the catch phrase is?

rtraverdavis
Randy D. - posted 2 days ago on 06-19-2017 11:34:24 pm
Vancouver, WA
goHUNT INSIDER

So, climate change and the loss of habitat and access don't affect hunting?

Brandon W. - posted 2 days ago on 06-20-2017 12:20:07 am
goHUNT INSIDER

I assume it is actually a lease of the mineral rights, not a sale of the land. If you don't want fossil fuels to be developed the solution is simple. Don't drive and have the power to your house turned off. Oh, and don't buy anything manufactured using petroleum products. Problem solved.

Delaine S. - posted 2 days ago on 06-20-2017 05:09:51 am

You stole all this land from my forefathers just so you could poison it?

tavisrogers
Tavis R. - posted 2 days ago on 06-20-2017 06:21:37 am
Oak Creek, Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

Delaine, doubt very seriously that you live in a wickiup and survive 100% off the land.

Heck, even stone age native Americans mined materials, set huge fires for hunting, and ended up killing way more than they could use without good preservation. Pretty significant evidence that Native Americans hunted many animals to extinction - with some help from Global Warming 10,000 years ago (not caused by industry).

If you are actually Native American, your ancestors killed off rival tribes to claim good hunting territory - otherwise they would not have survived to the time that the Europeans showed up. I have been around a lot of Indians - heck my stepmother is Navaho - and they are all living modern lifestyles with all the benefits of modern resource development and industry. Pretty sure you too are living in a modern world - obviously using electricity and a computer to post here.

Global Warming continues to be espoused as one of the worst things that can happen to the planet. Earth has been much warmer and much colder even during the short time humans have been here. Global Warming/Climate Change/Global Cooling (1970's) is and has been a political issue rather than a real threat. It has been used as a way to get voters and lawmakers to institute more taxes and laws. The Paris Accord significantly limited the USA and did not limit China, Russia, or any of the 3rd world country's emissions - thus limited the USA economically and financially to compete in the world economy.

Interestingly, the cold periods have showed significantly more extinctions and desertification than the warm periods. Ice Ages have been the greatest periods of mass extinction and humans almost didn't make it through a couple of them. The warm periods have been marked with significantly higher plant production, species diversity, and higher animal populations.

We do not want Global Cooling! That will lead to lower production and lower availability of food. Humans tend to get a bit testy without food...

Looking at the actual science, rather than the rhetoric, the planet has been in a long period of slight cooling with temperatures relatively stable for the last 10,000 years.

Gregory A. - posted 2 days ago on 06-20-2017 08:11:45 am
Miltona, Minnesota
goHUNT INSIDER

Travis what do you do for a living​?

Gregory A. - posted 2 days ago on 06-20-2017 08:11:49 am
Miltona, Minnesota
goHUNT INSIDER

Travis what do you do for a living​?

BRETT S. - posted 2 days ago on 06-20-2017 09:12:42 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Tavis it's nice to see a level headed, educated comment without prejudice. If people took the time to read between lines of the slanted article, they would notice it is a lease and not a sale. These leases happen all the time and pay billions of dollars every year to the BLM. Where do people suppose they come up with 6 billion a year if they didn't lease the land for mineral extraction?

BRETT S. - posted 2 days ago on 06-20-2017 09:06:37 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Tavis it's nice to see a level headed, educated comment without prejudice. If people took the time to read between lines of the slanted article, they would notice it is a lease and not a sale. These leases happen all the time and pay billions of dollars every year to the BLM. Where do people suppose they come up with 6 billion a year if they didn't lease the land for mineral extraction?

tavisrogers
Tavis R. - posted 2 days ago on 06-20-2017 11:25:22 am
Oak Creek, Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

Thank you, Brett.

Gregory, I put the world back together and clean up messes. I am an environmental engineer

Billy S. - posted 2 days ago on 06-20-2017 02:49:15 pm

Tavis is spot on. This article is not exactly going straight down the middle. The BLM closely monitor's these leases as well as making a lot of money from the energy companies. If you're curious what this kind of development looks like , look at the four corners area of Colorado and New Mexico where the deer and elk herds are thriving and there is some of the best trout waters in the country right in the middle of a huge natural gas field.

tavisrogers
Tavis R. - posted 1 day ago on 06-20-2017 06:51:54 pm
Oak Creek, Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

The source that this came from is severely slanted to the left (progressive) and the groups quoted are also far left, anti-American groups. Their reference to the Paris Accord is purely to stir up the enviro-whacko base. Thank God that we are now out of that farce.

It is very good to stay informed about these issues.

It is also very good to use common sense to understand how responsible multiple-use and conservation of our public lands ensure that there will continue to be public lands for our hunting and fishing heritage to continue into the future.

Jim M. - posted 1 day ago on 06-21-2017 04:38:08 am

Erik S., I have lived in, hunted, and fished in Nevada for the last two decades, please tell me where these "dead" areas of land in Nevada are located. The only thing dead in Nevada is the economy.

Jim M. - posted 1 day ago on 06-21-2017 04:47:10 am

Lance V., I couldn't agree more.

Jim M. - posted 1 day ago on 06-21-2017 04:40:39 am

Lance V., I couldn't agree more.

Lance V. - posted 1 day ago on 06-21-2017 07:50:58 am
Coeur D Alene, ID
goHUNT INSIDER

Tavis, I will second your comment about wildlife and multi use properties in the areas around Elko. I work in the mining industry and was in Elko a few weeks ago. We visited a mine with a local rep. He was telling me that on the mine site, public hunting is allowed. The mine is on a current lease from the BLM and has been for a very long time.
Randy, you will not necessarily lose any access through multi use of public land and it actually helps secure access. And if you are concerned about your impact on global whatever, you may consider adding up your fuel usage in one season of hunting/lb of meat obtained. I don't, but I'm not worried about it...

Erik S. - posted 1 day ago on 06-21-2017 09:56:55 am
goHUNT INSIDER

There is an old saying, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." There is no exception here with people defending mineral, gas and oil extraction. Fracking is bad, logging is not - I'm all for it. We all need to push for more renewable resources and less on the ones that pollute. How do you defend what happened in the gulf of mexico? Accidents like that won't happen from a solar panel. I just want healthy environments for game and fish to flourish, don't we all? Defending the red team over the blue team (Republicans vs democrats) is 4th grade bull chit. I dont expect these industries to be perfect, but like I said I expect there to be a more positive push for renewable resources and better regulations. Of course there is such thing as over regulating an industry, but I prefer that and will help battle it (like logging the elliot in oregon) over little to no environmental regulation at all.

Heres an older article on nevada and toxic mining/poisoning streams http://www.planevada.org/minings-toxic-legacy/

Erik S. - posted 1 day ago on 06-21-2017 09:56:07 am
goHUNT INSIDER

Where in the article does it say public access will still be allowed? Sale/auction means private owner ship thus access blocked... Help me out here, how will this 304 square miles still be open to the public?

Brandon W. - posted 1 day ago on 06-21-2017 10:32:20 am
goHUNT INSIDER

"Little or no environmental regulations". We have some of the strongest environmental regulations in the world. Solar panels don't cause pullution? Tell that to the people in Mongolia where the rare earth metals are mined with virtually no environmental regulation. Wind power? Environmental impact is tremendous producing the steel and concrete for the towers. Fracking is bad? That is just a completely uniformed statement that has been thrown around for so long by people that have no idea what fracking is because it is cool for certain people to be against fracking. Specifically fracking and horizontal drilling technologies greatly reduce the surface impact of oil and gas development by greatly reducing the number of pads (and roads, vehicle trips, etc) required.

There is what feels good and sounds good and makes you cool to your friends. Then there is reality. Renewable energy is a feel good farce. Renewables are not borne of fresh air and flowers as so many wish them to be. Again, turn of the power to your house and stop driving cars and flying in airplanes if you want to be the solution.

Also, it is a standard auction of the lease to mineral rights not a sale of the land. Public domain is not affected. The article was very misleading on this.

tavisrogers
Tavis R. - posted 1 day ago on 06-21-2017 01:00:33 pm
Oak Creek, Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

Erik,

Unfortunately, you seem to be the one that does not understand.

"Renewable" resources take significant non-renewable EXTRACTED resources to develop. I could go into significant detail, but don't really have the time. You should take some time and study the true FULL costs of the development of "renewable" resources vs "non-renewable" resources. Make sure to factor the O&M and replacement costs in (if you can find those costs). There are significant environmental impacts due to solar panel farms, wind turbines, and hydro-power that are hidden costs and are not communicated nor included in the totals you will find if you dig a little. Basically, you will eventually find out that "renewable" resources cost significantly more over time per unit energy than petroleum or coal.

Throw nuclear power into the mix and you figure out real quick the direction that is most environmentally friendly! That one will really shock your shorts off!

The majority of my 25-year career has been the actual cleaning up of water and land disturbed by extractive industry. The majority of that work was not required by law and the problems were not made by the company that paid for it. Thousands of acres of land and miles of streams and rivers costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Made for some of the most awesome elk, deer, antelope, and trout habitat anywhere - and I am very proud to have been a part of it. The companies did this, as well as keeping their current operations clean, at their own cost with no government (taxpayer) support as good stewards of the environment.

All I have seen from the Government (state or federal) is wasted time and money on studies and totally mis-managed physical projects that cost 10x more than they should and clean up 10x less than they should.

Billy S. - posted 17 hours ago on 06-21-2017 09:54:58 pm

Just another example of people wanting to dig their uninformed and uneducated teeth into industries that they rely on the most. I still can't believe how quickly people assume something is bad just because they hear it from someone with an agenda without doing their due diligence. We can install all the solar panels and wind turbines you want but they still won't keep the lights on, heat and cool my house , or run my truck. There is still no proof that fracking is negatively impacting the environment, and if anything, this kind of development improves access to public lands.

Billy S. - posted 17 hours ago on 06-21-2017 09:48:25 pm

Just another example of people wanting to dig their uninformed and uneducated teeth into industries that they rely on the most. I still can't believe how quickly people assume something is bad just because they hear it from someone with an agenda without doing their due diligence. We can install all the solar panels and wind turbines you want but they still won't keep the lights on, heat and cool my house , or run my truck. There is still no proof that fracking is negatively impacting the environment, and if anything, this kind of development improves access to public lands.

Jon W. - posted 16 hours ago on 06-21-2017 11:07:54 pm
Redding, CA
goHUNT INSIDER

Kristen, do you have a link to more information on the sale from BLM?

Brandon W. - posted 11 hours ago on 06-22-2017 04:23:24 am
goHUNT INSIDER

The author and editors of this article should correct the incorrect title and the article to reflect that this is in no way an auction of the land. The title is nothing short of a lie. If the title is a false anything that follows is suspect. The article is just as inaccurate as the title in that it continues with the false narrative that this is an outfright sale of the land.

If you want to restore credibility to your reporting you have to correct your (apparantly) agenda driven bias in the title and content of this article. Horrible journalism.

tavisrogers
Tavis R. - posted 10 hours ago on 06-22-2017 05:02:37 am
Oak Creek, Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

The original source (The Wisconsin Gazette) is totally slanted.

This is standard language for the BLM with respect to energy leases:

BLM Nevada holds oil and gas lease sales four times per year, as required by the Mineral Leasing Act, when eligible lands are available for leasing. We offer parcels for lease on a rotating schedule among District Offices to allow each office sufficient time to conduct environmental analysis. However, the BLM has the discretion to offer or defer any parcel during any sale.

Beginning in March 2017, BLM Nevada’s lease sales will be held online through EnergyNet (https://www.energynet.com/govt_listing.pl). For more information on the transition to online lease sales, please see the BLM news release: BLM Takes Important Step Toward Online Oil & Gas Lease Sales

Half of the royalties from leasing and mineral development goes to the State of Nevada.

Brandon W. - posted 9 hours ago on 06-22-2017 06:25:06 am
goHUNT INSIDER

The Wisconsin gazette as they describe themselves "
"Wisconsin Gazette: Print publication and web site targeting the Progressive/Alternative community".

I expect at least balanced reporting from gohunt. Maybe this lease really is a particularly bad idea but the article by gohunt is completely useless for helping us decide because it is so one-sided. It is just propaganda. I used to pay attention to gohunt's articles about issues like this. I won't anymore. If this is the sloppy work my insider subscription supports I don't know why I should renew it.

tavisrogers
Tavis R. - posted 8 hours ago on 06-22-2017 06:47:43 am
Oak Creek, Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

Very good point, Brandon.

We, as outdoorspeople, need to stay informed on critical issues. This is obviously not one of them. The article was written by the Wisconsin Gazette slanted to cause people to rally against multi-use on public lands.

GoHunt definitely needs to provide more context and do a bit more research on this type of article prior to putting it out as news or something that we should consider taking action on.