March 14, 2019

Cortez Masto Statement on the U.S. Forest Service’s Decision to Not Allow Oil and Gas Leasing in the Ruby Mountains

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement after the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest released its draft decision in the Ruby Mountains Oil and Gas Leasing Availability Analysis. The U.S. Forest Service found that proposed lands within the Ruby Mountains are not suitable for oil and gas leasing.

“I commend the Forest Service for recognizing what the majority of Nevadans have loudly said: oil and gas drilling has no place in the Ruby Mountains. The Rubies are a sacred treasure and economic driver for local communities in White Pine and Elko Counties. I’m glad the Federal government listened to the voices of more than 14,000 Nevadans who asked for these precious public lands to be off-limits to oil and gas drilling. While today’s decision is a significant victory for the coalition of conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, small businesses and Nevadans who stood up, there is still more we must do to prevent any future attempts to develop these lands for potential oil and gas leasing. I will continue to fight in the Senate for the passage of my Ruby Mountains Protection Act¸ which would write into law that oil and gas leasing in the Rubies is prohibited and specifically ensure the protection of those beautiful public lands for generations to come.”


Senator Cortez Masto’s Ruby Mountains Protection Act would withdraw approximately 450,000 acres of National Forest System lands comprising the Ruby Mountain Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest from any eligibility for oil and gas leasing under the Mineral Leasing Act. The measure otherwise allows the continuation of all existing multiple uses in the area including recreation, grazing and mining.

This legislation also covers any future land or interest in land acquired by the United States for inclusion in the Ruby Mountains Ranger District from future oil and gas leasing.