Well, and not in oil well, we received a reprieve from the BLM and their quest to lease land for oil and gas exploration in our backyard. 

We dodged the bullet this time, but that’s not good enough. We need a permanent solution to prevent a future repeat of the situation. Our water supply must come first and foremost!

In 1987, congress passed the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act.  I took the time to review the law and its implication for our area.  Sections of this law need to be exchanged or eliminated. 

The bill permits the issuance of oil and gas leases on public lands only if such leasing has been evaluated and approved in a land use planning meeting, and meets certain statutory requirements. We need a say in this, and a seat at the table to really know what’s going on. Reading about it in the Federal Register, and who reads it (?) is not enough.

I am not an environmentalist, a liberal, a member of the Sierra Club, nor any other environmental organization. 

However, I have carefully reviewed how leasing is done, who makes money, and who gets ripped off. I urge anyone really interested in this subject to read an article in the Center for America Progress, “Backroom Deals” that came out this year. Yes, I know the organization is a very liberal one, but that’s not the point.

Related to all of this are some written comments made to me by Richard Perry, Administrator, Nevada Division of Minerals.

Mr. Perry tells me oil was discovered in Nevada in 1955, but the State is not a major producer of oil and there has never been commercial natural gas production. 

He goes on to tell me only one oil exploration well was drilled in Nevada in 2019, and there has been little interest in oil exploration drilling. If that’s actually the case, why does the BLM want to lease hundreds of thousands of acres for potential exploration and who profits?  Read the article, ”Backroom Deals”, and it should become clear.

In the coming weeks, I will be looking at how we can prevent these lease sales from coming back to haunt us in Mesquite. I don’t doubt that the BLM is doing just the opposite and will try to get the lease sales back on for a future date. 

I can’t say for sure if we will get what we want, but we need to try.

Is Mesquite going to lose out with out gas and oil fracking nearby? I doubt it, but we will lose out if anything happens to our precious water. This is a desert.

Alan Litman is mayor of the City of Mesquite