Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Supervisor Signs the Decision for Ruby Mountains Oil and Gas Availability Leasing Analysis

by NCN staff and a release from the US Forest Service

The Ruby Mountains are near Elko and some of the most scenic mountains in Nevada - image - Google Earth

Sparks, NV – The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest today issued the final Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Ruby Mountains Oil and Gas Leasing Availability Analysis. The Forest Supervisor Bill Dunkelberger selected the “No Leasing” Alternative, which makes National Forest System (NFS) lands within the analysis area not available for oil and gas leasing.

“After the end of the 45-day objection period, no objections to the ‘No Leasing’ decision were received,” said Dunkelberger. “I want to thank everyone who provided feedback and comments during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. Based on extensive analyses and public input, I feel that my decision best serves the public.”
Dunkelberger’s decision was the result of detailed analysis and extensive involvement of citizens and communities. The analysis revealed unfavorable geologic conditions in the area, meaning that there is little to no potential of oil and gas resources in the area.

Additionally, camping, hunting, fishing, and motorized recreation are popular activities in the proposed lease area and represent part of a $12.5 billion recreation industry in Nevada—an industry that supports 87,000 jobs statewide. The unfavorable geologic conditions, coupled with concerns over potential impacts to wildlife and to the recreational and scenic values of the iconic Nevada landscape, led to the selection of the No Leasing Alternative.
The NFS lands analyzed are located between Lamoille Creek and Sherman Creek in the Ruby Mountains in Elko County, Nevada. These lands total approximately 52,533 acres. Mapping found that nearly all of the analysis area has very low to no oil and gas potential because of unfavorable geologic conditions.

The Ruby Mountains Oil and Gas Leasing Analysis began in 2017 when the USDA Forest Service was informed by the Bureau of Land Management that interest had been received regarding oil and gas leasing in the Ruby Mountains area. Before leasing could be approved, the Forest Service was required to analyze any impact lease activities would have on NFS lands. This helped inform the decision on whether a proposed project could proceed, and if so, what stipulations, if any, would be applied to that work.