Changes in Bureau of Land Management oil- and gas-leasing policy would be detrimental to public lands and our way of life. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is making the BLM waive environmental reviews on certain lands — putting the public at risk by making safeguard processes optional and shrinking the public’s timeline to review oil lease sales and comment on them.
This is part of a constant barrage against Nevadans from Zinke, who has targeted our lands repeatedly. Zinke’s attacks include recommendations to shrink national monuments Gold Butte and Basin and Range, the returned use of lead shot in our wildlife refuges, this effort to take away our right to influence where we drill in Nevada, and a desire to dissolve local BLM offices in Nevada and have our state managed by offices in Idaho, Utah and Southern California.
All of this means places like the Ruby Mountains are at even higher risk of being drilled sooner and more irresponsibly. And what happens behind Zinke’s closed doors doesn’t stay there. If we rush oil and gas extraction, we jeopardize entire watersheds, ecosystems and community health. Clean air and water affect everyone. Public lands, wildlife and pollution know no borders.
The writer is an organizing representative for the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America Campaign.