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February 11, 2010

Your Action Needed!

Wildlands and Wildlife Under Attack

The BLM needs to hear from you by February 15th. Your voice is needed to protect unspoiled wilderness and wildlife in the high desert of Nevada from a proposed natural gas pipeline.
 

young pronghorn
Young pronghorn © Jim Yoakum

Northwestern Nevada contains some of the most intact wild country in the sagebrush sea; it is home to pronghorn, sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, pika, eagle and many, many more creatures that depend on a healthy and undeveloped sagebrush community. An out-of-state gas company (Ruby Pipeline LLC) wants to cut a swathe of destruction through wildlands between the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge and the Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area as part of a 675-mile natural gas pipeline.
 

sage grouse
Sage grouse © Jim Yoakum
 

What’s at stake? Some of the most-remote, wild country left in the state and some of the best un-fragmented habitat for sage grouse and pygmy rabbit in Nevada. Both the pygmy rabbit and the sage grouse are being considered by the federal government for listing under the Endangered Species Act (in large part because of lost, fragmented or degraded habitat).

Key to keeping this living landscape intact are the Warm Springs and Ten-Mile Wilderness Inventory Units. They provide critical wildlife connections between the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge and the Black Rock Desert NCA. They harbor sensitive springs and riparian areas, "Category 1 sage-grouse habitat" and rich cultural resources. These areas also provide fabulous opportunities for backcountry recreation and solitude.

The proposed pipeline would be built directly across these potential wilderness areas.

In addition, the adjacent Summit Lake Indian Tribe vehemently opposes this pipeline and the potential impacts to their people and culture.

Protect wilderness: use these points to tell the BLM:

  • Do not approve a Ruby Pipeline right-of-way that would cut through and destroy wilderness values in the Warm Springs and Ten-mile Wilderness Inventory Units (and thereby disrupt wildlife routes between the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge and the Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area). The loss of wild country here can not be mitigated.

  • Do not approve any right-of-way for the Ruby Pipeline at this time. Make a decision AFTER a final ruling on potential listing under the Endangered Species Act for both the sage grouse and the pygmy rabbit. This project will make the plight of sage grouse and pygmy rabbits even worse.

  • The EIS cumulative impact analysis is inadequate. Before approving a right-of-way for the Ruby Pipeline, there must be a comprehensive statewide cumulative impact analysis based on all of the currently proposed and likely to be proposed rights-of-way (pipelines, transmission lines, etc) that affect sage grouse and pygmy rabbit habitat, particularly in light of these species' potential listing. The BLM cannot look at impacts to these species one project at a time.

  • High value cultural resources are still being impacted and the objections of the Summit Lake Indian Reservation are being ignored.

Please send the BLM an email now at: blmruby@blm.gov

Or you can send a letter expressing your concerns to:
Mark Mackiewicz
National Project Manager
Bureau of Land Management
c/o Price Field Office
125 South 600 West
Price, Utah 84501

Note: The BLM’s Wilderness Characteristics Assessment for the proposed pipeline (Appendix W) can be viewed as a PDF by clicking here.

The BLM has more information at: www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/info/nepa/ruby_pipeline_project.html


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