By Ann Bly
Mesquite, NV. Coming to an area Near You W NV: Another Round of Fracking Leases
Not the best of news: the Trump administration in its infinite wisdom has determined that approximately 530,000 acres of public land should be opened for fossil fuel leasing this November. It is not surprising that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should be doing this since its current director doesn’t believe that the US should maintain ANY public lands. But the news is disturbing As far as I am concerned this is another attempt by the Trump administration to placate the fossil fuel industry and do damage to a Blue state.
I understand that between 3 and 5 percent of these leases remain in Nevada. Further, this particular lease impacting Mesquite will unlikely result in no fossil fuel resources. In the Trump administration, at least, fossil fuel is king and the Climate Crisis be damned.
Fossil fuel leases in this state are a bad idea. One of Nevada’s most profitable businesses is tourism. People out east are interested in seeing the Great Basin and other natural areas, some of which on the west side of the state are being leased away for fracking this November. If our public lands are going to be dotted with fracking sites, and our local wildlife is driven to extinction due to the pollution and other adverse impacts of fracking, people are not going to want to visit. It definitely won’t be good for tourism.
On a more personal level, as someone who has lived in Nevada for 10 years, I am deeply concerned about the fact that fracking is a water intensive business. We are a state with scarce water resources, being the driest in the contiguous 48. We are even drier than Arizona, which at least has the benefit of the monsoon rains. The Mojave Desert I live in just isn’t as wet as the Arizona desert, and the rest of the state is dry too. Speculators looking to profit from fracking in Nevada will be using our scarce water resources. If the fracking mines are profitable, the speculators won’t care that they will be leaving the state water poor, and the water residual left behind from fracking polluted. But I care, and I’m sure my neighbors also do. The water where I live in Clark County comes from a relatively pristine aquifer fed by a tributary that flows into the Colorado River down the road to the west. The fracking sites being proposed in the southern part of the state are within striking distance of our aquifer, and there is always the possibility that the fracking residual water will pollute our aquifer.
Retirees and others move to our area in part because the air is clean, and we have a water source in a desert environment. If our water is polluted, people are not going to want to move here. So, the potential impact could be very negative when it comes to housing values in my city and any future economic growth. I should note that based on the way the parcels are arrayed other aquifers may be impacted including those serving the Las Vegas Metropolitan area.
To see what is planned for leasing, it’s all listed at https://rockymountainwild.org/oil_and_gas/nevada
If you would like to voice an opinion about this latest administration folly, please write a letter to the attention of Ms. Kemba Anderson, Branch Chief for Fluid Mineral Resources, at the address: Bureau of Land Management Nevada State Office, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, NV 89502-7147. Letters must be received before October 10th.