Nevada Public Lands Threatened by Massive Fossil-Fuel Drilling Operations

April 28, 2008
1:10 PM

 CONTACT: Center for Biological Diversity
Rob Mrowka, Center for Biological Diversity, (702) 249-5821
Federal Proposal to Open 1.7 Million Acres of Nevada Public Land to Oil and Gas Development Would Worsen Global Climate Change and Imperil Species
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – April 28 – Today the Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments urging the federal Bureau of Land Management to scrap its proposal to open 1.7 million acres of public lands in Lander and Nye counties to oil and gas development because the drilling would exacerbate global climate change and further threaten imperiled species.

At the heart of the Center’s complaint is the Bureau’s failure to analyze or even acknowledge the environmental impacts from the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the development and consumption of oil and gas produced from the area, despite the National Environmental Policy Act’s mandate to fully disclose the environmental impacts from federal actions.

“The Bush administration cannot ignore the serious implications for global warming from leasing millions of acres of public lands for oil and gas development,” said Rob Mrowka, the Center’s representative in Nevada. “By failing to even mention the climate implications of this oil and gas project in its Environmental Assessment, the Bush administration is hiding the truth regarding the real effects of its misguided energy policy.”

The impacts of climate change on Nevada include prolonged heat waves and higher night-time temperatures, severe droughts, more wildfires, widespread beetle infestations in both low and high elevation forests, loss of species, and the spread of diseases such as the West Nile virus. Nevada’s water supply is also threatened by climate change, due to less snowfall and earlier runoff in both local mountains as well as the headwaters of the Colorado River.

Imperiled Nevada species such as the Lahontan cutthroat trout are at risk from global climate change because of reduced stream flows and warmed water, which can be lethal to the species. Globally, up to 1 million species may be lost due to climate change, and species like the polar bear may go extinct within our lifetime.

“What happens in the Great Basin of Nevada has a direct connection to climate on a global scale,” said Mrowka. “Never before has the plea to “Think Globally, Act Locally” been more pertinent and important. The Bush administration should take heed in crafting its energy policies.”


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