Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, July 30, 2019


Patrick Donnelly, Center for Biological Diversity, (702) 483-0449,
Kelly Fuller, Western Watersheds Project, (928) 322-8449,

Appeal Challenges Trump Administration’s Approval of Nevada Oil Well

RENO, Nev.— Conservation groups today challenged a recently approved oil well in central Nevada, saying the Trump administration’s Bureau of Land Management skirted federal law by failing to conduct a thorough environmental analysis. This is the agency’s first approval of a new oil well in Nevada in almost two years.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project requested a formal review from the BLM’s Nevada state director, Jon Raby. The groups say the BLM failed to analyze damage to the climate from burning fossil fuels or examine how oil drilling could harm local wildlife, including migratory birds like snowy plovers and ruddy ducks.

“The BLM is recklessly pushing Trump’s drill-everywhere agenda, sending us on a one-way path to climate catastrophe,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center. “The agency is flouting environmental protection laws to do the bidding of the oil industry. We’re asking Mr. Raby to ensure that the BLM follows the law.”

The BLM approved the oil well, located in central Nevada’s Railroad Valley, after a minimal environmental review, a process mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act. In particular, the agency almost completely omitted analysis of how burning oil from the proposed well would harm the climate — an analysis that federal courts have recently ordered the agency to conduct in other cases.

Speculative leasing proposals in the Ruby Mountains have made headlines in recent years, as the BLM has leased thousands of acres of public land every quarter.

“The BLM’s approval of a new climate polluting oil well in Nevada is evidence that we must continue the fight against the fossil fuel industry on all fronts,” said Kelly Fuller, energy and mining campaign director at Western Watersheds Project. “We must end all new drilling on public land immediately in order to meet global emissions reduction goals, save our climate for future generations and protect wildlife.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Western Watersheds Project works to protect and restore watersheds and wildlife on public lands across the American West.

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