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Editor:

I am writing in regard to the fact that the Forest Service is considering making land eligible for potential oil/gas leases in the Ruby Mountains. This proposal calls for 54,000 acres to be available for exploration in the Humboldt National Forest.

This would include various areas in a swath of territory running from south of Lamoille Creek to north of Sherman Creek, incorporating portions of the Harrison Pass Road. Many northern Nevada treasures are contained in or close to this proposed site, including beautiful grasslands and native shrubs, habitats for multiple Great Basin species, the popular recreational center known locally as The Marshes, and the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge.

I am very concerned about the potential impact of oil or gas drilling sites on such scenic and multi-use lands. The value of the Ruby Mountains is inestimable to the ecology of the region and to generations of Nevada residents. The environmental, economic, recreational, and cultural benefits that come with maintaining the unaltered integrity of these lands cannot be overestimated. Such benefits should not be bargained away by the theoretical possibility of short term monetary gain.

I would hope that this plan would be stopped at this early stage and not allowed to progress any further. I encourage those who value the Ruby Mountains, land that belongs to all of us and not solely to special interest groups, to voice their opposition to this proposal.

Public comments will be accepted until Nov. 2, 2017. You can call 775-778-6123 for further information or send your comments to 660 South 12th Street, Suite 108 in Elko, 89801. Or you can go to the following website for further details and instructions on submitting comments electronically:

Jane Simonsen, MD

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