I’m not opposed to oil and gas drilling in Nevada, but I am opposed to drilling in the Ruby Mountains.

The Forest Service received an “expression of interest” for oil and gas drilling on 54,000 acres of the Ruby Mountains. Over 8,000 comments were sent to the Forest Service in response to their public notice. Only three were supportive.

The truth is, the Rubies are not a realistic prospect for significant oil and gas resources. On the other hand, the Rubies are some of the best hunting, fishing and wildlife habitat in the state – this is the highest and best use of these remarkable public lands.

The Forest Service can shut the door now on the Ruby drilling proposal. They don’t have to go forward with more studies and give any credence to this dubious proposal and waste taxpayer money. The Forest Service should just say “NO” and take this off the table for both fiscal and resource concerns.

The Forest Service wanted to hear from the public , and we resoundingly responded that we don’t want this. I hope our local voice matters.

Many of us make our living from the natural resources that Nevada provides. Whether it be from grass (the kind that grows on the range) or gold in the hills. We understand multiple use and the value of responsibly using what we have, but that doesn’t mean that every place should be open for every single use.

In other states with oil and gas development, we have seen special places placed off limits to drilling with the support of local communities and public land users: the Wyoming Range in Wyoming, Rocky Mountain Front in Montana, and most recently, the Roan Plateau in Colorado. In these places, public land management agencies and elected officials heeded the call of hunters, anglers, ranchers and outfitters and other public lands users and set aside these public lands to be kept as they are for future generations.

Oil and gas leasing dominates the lands where it takes place and uses vast amounts of precious water, often to the detriment of hunting, fishing, and recreation in the area. We might agree that some places’ highest use is extracting the oil and gas. Not the Rubies.

Pam Harrington of Crescent Valley is Nevada Field Coordinator for Trout Unlimited.