LAS VEGAS — The modern-day gold rush in the race to a greener economy is knocking on the door of a long-protected oasis in the middle of the Nevada desert.
Rover Metals, a Canadian minerals exploration company, plans to drill up to 30 deep holes in a remote patch of public land in southern Nye County as it hunts for large deposits of lithium, a key mineral in the production of electric vehicle batteries.
But the boundary of the project sits just a few thousand feet from the northern springs inside Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, sparking backlash from environmentalists, local officials and more who are sounding alarms over worries that the drilling could decimate the refuge’s fragile ecosystem and the federally protected species that call it home.
“It takes one miscalculation, one bad drill hole, one uncontrolled flow. That’s all. And that could have permanent, irreparable damage,” said Mason Voehl, executive director of the Amargosa Conservancy, a local environmental preservation group helping lead the charge against Rover’s drilling.
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