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Ruby Mountain oil lease comments due Nov. 2

ELKO – The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbidge Ranger District is accepting comments until Nov. 2 on a proposal to make approximately 54,000 acres of oil and gas available for leasing in the Ruby Mountains.

The input will help the Forest Service prepare an environmental assessment addressing the potential effects of implementing this proposal.

“This is an opportunity for the Forest to engage the public before making a decision that will influence the management and use of these lands moving forward in the future,” said District Ranger John Baldwin.

The Forest Service is looking at which National Forest System lands may be made administratively available to the Bureau of Land Management for oil and gas leasing and what stipulations would be included to protect resources.

The NFS lands being considered for oil and gas leasing are located south of Lamoille Creek and North of Sherman Creek, on the west side of the Ruby Mountains. These lands are within areas covered by the 1986 Humboldt Land and Resource Management Plan, and all are designated as open to leasing.

The Nevada BLM is a cooperating agency on this National Environmental Policy Act analysis.

For any lands made available, the Forest Service would need to identify reasonable and necessary stipulations to avoid or minimize impacts to resources such as wildlife, soils, watersheds, roadless area characteristics and cultural resources.

The public can view the scoping material and maps for this project on the Forest Service website.

Written comments must be mailed to Susan Elliott, Minerals Program manager, at the Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbidge Ranger District Elko Office, 660 S. during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.

Email comments can be submitted to sgelliott@fs.fed.us. Please put “Ruby Oil and Gas” into the subject line. Electronic comments can also be submitted using the project website.


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Elko Band votes to seek more info on pot proposals

ELKO – Elko Band Council members approved a motion to get more information about the two businesses seeking to bring a marijuana establishment to the Elko Indian Colony.

In a regular open meeting of the Elko Band of the Te-Moak Tribe Western Shoshone, council members voted 6-1 to hear presentations from two companies wanting to bring a cannabis dispensary to the colony, along with another group interested in establishing a casino.

Cannabis Consulting Company LLC, owned by Joshua & Terra White, and a separate group of investors represented by Jon Goldstein, who is affiliated with Louis Armstrong and Associates from California, will explain their business plans to the council at a date yet to be determined.

The band council and members of the Elko Band and Te-Moak tribe expressed their opinions during the public comment session that lasted more than an hour prior to the vote.

Of the audience members who spoke, some said the council was being too hesitant in moving the colony forward and bringing in money to fix roads and improve services for children and elders. One man who spoke said the in-fighting needed to be put aside in order to improve the colony.

Some council members explained they were against the cannabis business because it wasn’t federally recognized.

Fermina Stevens addressed the council and referred to Cole Memorandum, a memo issued by James Cole, Deputy Attorney General, to all U.S. attorneys asking prosecutors, in part, to make sure marijuana cases were “in compliance with a strong and effective state regulatory system.”

Susan Sandoval, administrator for Elko Band, defended the council’s caution, explaining they “didn’t want to walk away from a venture, but there has to be more discussion, more research, more education.”

“It’s not [the council] opposing it, but it’s a lack of information that’s being shared,” Sandoval said. “We can’t progress until we look at all of these issues. We can’t create another problem on top of the issues we have existing.”

Enrolled Te-Moak member Keith Andren attended Wednesday night’s meeting along with nearly 100 people and wanted to see the colony have a business that brings revenue to the tribe.

“We need some sort of income to make our tribe economically viable so that way we can exercise our sovereignty,” Andren said, adding he would welcome a marijuana dispensary, a casino or a McDonalds to see that happen. “I’m glad the council is looking into it.”

Councilman Gerald Temoak said he was happy to see the tribal community participate and he is ready for a dispensary to come to the colony and wants to use the revenue to improve the infrastructure in the colony.

Leta Jim said the council did not have any information before Sunday’s meeting and voted to get more information.

“It will be nice we’re going to see some of the proposals,” Jim said.

Davis Gonzales said he felt ready to make a decision on one of the companies Wednesday night, and voted against the motion.

Cannabis Consulting co-owner Terra White said the council is “headed in the right direction” in wanting to research the companies and saw the action as “a vote for Elko medical patients.”


State-and-regional
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Records: Tentative deal reached on deadly 'cyanide bombs'
Records: Tentative deal reached on deadly 'cyanide bombs'

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials have reached a tentative deal with wildlife advocates trying to stop the use of predator-killing traps, including devices called “cyanide bombs” that earlier this year injured an Idaho teenager and killed his dog, according to court documents filed Thursday.

Government attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen to put on hold for 60 days a lawsuit over the poisoned traps pending final approval of the agreement by senior officials at the Interior Department.

Terms were not disclosed.

One of the devices named in the lawsuit, called an M-44, is partially buried and baited to attract predators. It sprays cyanide into the mouths of animals that trigger it.

M-44s are meant to protect livestock but sometimes kill pets and injure people.

The traps drew increased scrutiny after The Associated Press reported that the injuries to the boy near Pocatello, Idaho, in March came months after a decision to halt use of the devices on federal lands in the state.

Another device at issue is a type of collar filled with pesticide and placed onto livestock so the pesticide will be ingested by attacking predators.

The Humane Society, WildEarth Guardians and two other groups filed suit over the devices in April. They say the traps kill thousands of predators every year — primarily coyotes but also foxes, raccoons, opossums and other animals.

The lawsuit said the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service has not consulted with the Environmental Protection Agency on whether the poisons could harm federally protected species and their habitat.

Representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice, which is defending the case, and the Interior Department did not immediately respond to emailed messages from AP requesting comment.

Bethany Cotton with WildEarth Guardians declined to provide any specifics on the agreement. She said the goal was to stop the use of traps she described as “totally indiscriminate and incredibly dangerous.”

In June, federal officials said they would undertake an expanded review of cyanide traps, which continue to be used in other states. They also issued guidelines requiring federal workers to notify nearby residents of the placement of M-44s.

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Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter at www.twitter.com/matthewbrownap


Local
Nevada Day Parade begins at 11 a.m. Friday

ELKO – The city’s 30th annual Nevada Day Parade celebrates 153 years of statehood beginning at 11 a.m. Friday in downtown Elko.

The Nevada Day Parade committee has chosen the theme “Legacy in Our Community: 30 Years Strong,” according to organizers Jim and Sara Conner.

In observance of the Elko Centennial celebration, the Nevada Day Parade Committee announced the grand marshal of the 30th Annual Nevada Day Parade will be the City of Elko and its citizens.

“Without the citizens of Elko, the town would not have lasted for the century that is has,” said parade co-organizer Jim Conner. “The City of Elko is a better place because of its incredibly involved residents. As has been shown in the Elko 100 collection, the town has seen many extraordinary people that have helped to make it such a wonderful place to live with new inspirations every day. Congratulations Elko on 100 years, here’s to another century of growth and prosperity.”

The Nevada Day Parade is sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Council 2511 and Assembly 614.