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Editor:

Several iconic locations we hunt, fish, camp, hike, and explore on our treasured public lands, especially places like the Ruby Mountains, are on the chopping block for oil and gas. Not surprising,the entire process of oil gas lease sales is now happening behind closed doors.

The current administration and Secretary of Interior can’t stop crossing the line with what’s legal and what’s completely unprecedented. Public lands burglars like Zinke are changing the process for oil and gas lease sales, nixing public input to prop up big oil interests over the health and outdoor recreation economy of Nevada’s rural communities.

The new process places power for leasing in the hands of industry and not in the places nor with the people it will irreparably harm. It’s an attack on transparency and the rural communities that steward places like the Ruby Mountains.

This new approach would have only given 10 days to the 8,000, mostly Elko county locals who commented against oil and gas extraction in the Ruby Mountains. These actions are a slam to decades of effort that went into making the process more inclusive and representative of all interests including Native Nations, rural communities, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts alike.

This action is yet another egregious move to turn environmental departments into welfare agencies for out of state and even foreign oil speculators that don’t care about what damage they leave behind. It’s clear Zinke is not interested in conducting a reasonable and fair process whatsoever. Instead, he’s selling off public lands in the most opaque way -- a method that will surely be challenged.

Christian Gerlach

Las Vegas

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