Protestors Fuming Over Gas And Oil Bidding For Public Land

Mar 8, 2016

Clean energy activists gathered in downtown Reno this morning to protest the auctioning of public land leases for fossil fuel extraction. Reno Public Radio's Noah Glick was there and has more.

Valerie Love is a clean energy campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity. Standing underneath the Reno arch, she had a message for Washington.

"We're out here to tell the Obama administration to halt all new fossil fuel leasing on our public lands and waters," Love says. "To keep our promise for the Paris Climate Accord, we need to keep that in the ground."

The aptly named “Keep it in the Ground” movement has already held similar rallies in Alaska, Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. The mission is to stop fossil fuel extraction across public lands.

Chris Rose is with the Nevada Bureau of Land Management, the agency holding the auction. He says the lease sale is only part of the process, and that the public will have a say in what happens with the land.

"Just because somebody picks up a parcel doesn’t mean the drill rigs are going up the next day," Rose says. "There’s a whole environmental assessment process. There’s a public comment process. So the concerns about fracking or any other type of extraction method would be voiced during a proposal for exploration or development.”

The Nevada BLM auctioned leases for 50,000 acres of public land across Elko and Eureka counties.