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Nevada Environmental Groups Protest Oil and Gas Leases

Protestors spoke out in Reno Tuesday against the sale of oil and gas leases on federal land. Credit: Center for Biological Diversity
Protestors spoke out in Reno Tuesday against the sale of oil and gas leases on federal land. Credit: Center for Biological Diversity
December 9, 2015

RENO, Nev. – Dozens of activists descended on a Reno hotel on Tuesday to protest the sale of federal land leases in Nevada for oil and gas development.

The Bureau of Land Management at its quarterly auction sold the rights to develop oil and gas on about 4,000 acres near Ely.

Valerie Love with the Center for Biological Diversity said the lease prices were so low, taxpayers will see virtually no financial return on these public lands.

"Oil companies bid on them in advance and bought parcels for $1.50 an acre for the first five years and then, up to $2 an acre for the next five years," she said. "But it's really just giving away our public lands for fossil fuel development."

The protestors want the government to halt all future oil leases on federal lands and water in the West, and focus instead on geothermal and solar resources. More than 80 percent of all of Nevada's land is owned by the federal government.

Susan Hoog, with the Great Basin Climate Action Network, also indicated concern.

"We already have over 30 years of oil and gas leases out there," said Hoog. "If we want to keep the CO2 level from going up above 2 degrees Celsius, that carbon needs to stay in the ground."

Similar protests have taken place in Alaska, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Love said she hopes the U.S. negotiators at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris will agree to halt future oil and gas leases on federal lands.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV