March 08, 2023

Cortez Masto Introduces Legislation to Protect Nevada’s Ruby Mountains

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) re-introduced her legislation to expand protections and prohibit unproductive oil and gas development in Nevada’s beautiful and pristine Ruby Mountains.

“Thousands of Nevadans and tourists enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, and skiing in the Ruby Mountains each year, and my legislation would ensure that these public lands aren’t disrupted by speculative and unproductive oil and gas development,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I’ll keep working to support our outdoor recreation economy and protect Nevada’s public lands for generations to come.”

“The Shoshone people have used these mountains to live, pray and travel. For many years we have been fighting to protect these areas, people forget the Treaty of Ruby Valley and what the Shoshone boundaries are. With much gratitude I would like to thank Senator Cortez Masto for hearing our ancestors and our people to protect this area,” said Te-Moak Tribal Chairman Joseph Holley.

 “Senator Cortez Masto's commitment to the Rubies and the people that love this place has been unwavering,” said Pam Harrington, Nevada Field Coordinator, Trout Unlimited. “The senator has worked for years to protect the Ruby Mountains and Ruby Lakes Wildlife Refuge from speculative oil and gas leasing. We stand behind her as she reintroduces the Ruby Mountains Protection Act in the 118th Congress.”  

“We thank Sen. Cortez Masto for her leadership on reintroducing the Ruby Mountains Protection Act which would withdraw nearly 350,000 acres of public land from oil and gas leasing, removing the threat of habitat fragmentation while maintaining multiple use,” said Bryce Pollock, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Nevada chapter policy co-chair. “Sportsmen and women applaud this legislation that would conserve critical habitat in the migratory corridor for Nevada’s largest mule deer herd as well as streams and lakes populated by Lahontan cutthroat trout.”

“Senator Cortez Masto has continued her steadfast leadership to protect the outstanding recreational opportunities found in the Ruby Mountains,” said Carl Erquiaga, Nevada field representative with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Hunters and anglers thank Senator Cortez Masto for conserving this gem of Nevada public lands that provides not only one of the state’s most important big-game migration corridors for its largest mule deer herd but is also home to many other iconic fish and wildlife species, including Lahontan cutthroat trout.”

The Ruby Mountains Protection Act would withdraw approximately 450,000 acres of National Forest System district land, comprising the Ruby Mountain Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, from any eligibility for oil and gas leasingThe bill will also expand protection to the 39,926 acre Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This legislation also prevents any future land or interest in land acquired by the United States for inclusion in the these areas from being used for oil and gas leasing. The Ruby Mountains Protection Act would not affect any recreational use of these pristine lands, including for hunting, hiking and fishing.

Senator Cortez Masto has been a champion for Nevada’s great outdoor spaces and public lands. She passed critical legislation to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which protects public lands in Nevada and across the U.S. She introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to restore Lake Tahoe, and she delivered critical funding to protect Lake Tahoe in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. She also helped pass the historic Great American Outdoors Act, which was signed into law and provides robust funding to preserve and maintain public lands across the country.