Well, the short answer, I guess, is money. It seems that Nevada possibly has large reserves of oil underneath. And people obviously want to get after it. So here we go with the battles between capitalists and environmentalists.
Anyone who has had the pleasure to drive either from Reno to Vegas (or vice versa) or from the eastern part of the state to Vegas knows what’s out there in Nevada. Vast expanses of absolutely nothing. It’s a freaking desert, and there are maybe a dozen or so actually inhabited towns scattered throughout the majority of the state’s land mass. Why the hell not drill or oil here?
Well, the answer to that might be very similar to why we’re not drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge: politics. See, if I had to guess, I’d say that Nevadans, and especially the ones living in the desert towns, would favor looking for oil here. You’d get a lot of resistance from groupls in Las Vegas and Reno. Sure, maybe a few of them would move to places like Round Mountain or Tonopah and set up shop to make it look like locals are against it. Plus, it’s easier to set up protests from close proximity. But the state’s real residents, those in “the rurals” as local politicians love to call them, tend to want jobs and money flow that goes with new business opportunites more than pristine desert wasteland. Don’t get me wrong, that desert certainly appeals to a ton of folks, but for the most part, it’s useless. There are barely even roads in many parts of the state, and people from Reno and Vegas in their nice SUVs certainly aren’t driving on those.
Oh, and there is this other angle Nevadans might want to consider. Yucca Mountain. Do you think the feds, if we had the vast reserves that are possibly there, would risk turning such a strategic place into a radioactive hellhole? I don’t. So it may be time to pick your poison, Nevada. We can take one for the team and start pumping oil out of here, or welcome everyone else’s nuclear waste.