RENO, Nev. (AP) - A rural county has joined an environmental group in challenging an upcoming oil and gas lease sale in central Nevada that could open 174,000 acres of public land to hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking.
Lander County and the Center for Biological Diversity have filed formal protests over the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's July 17 sale of leases around Big Smokey Valley between Austin and Tonopah.
Both parties say fracking involves an enormous amount of water and they're concerned about its effect on the nation's most arid state at a time of severe drought.
Lander County Commissioner Dean Bullock says the county's protest was filed on behalf of ranchers and farmers who are concerned that fracking could end up taking water away from them.
The Center for Biological Diversity says fracking also can reduce water for communities and wildlife.
The BLM says the protests are under review.