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A years-long fight over a plan to build a water pipeline along the Nevada-Utah state line to bring groundwater to Las Vegas is about to get a first-ever hearing before a federal judge in Nevada. The pipeline could cost billions of dollars to build, but the Southern Nevada Water Authority says it may become essential if drought keeps shrinking the Lake Mead reservoir on the Colorado River which supplies 90% of Las Vegas’ drinking water.
State and federal go-aheads brought challenges in state and federal courts from environmentalists, activists, local governments in rural towns in the two counties, plus the Duckwater and Ely Shoshone tribes and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation in Utah.
No tribe in the area was properly consulted and none signed off on the plan, Rovianne Leigh, attorney for the Goshutes said Monday. She described tribal elders’ fears that a meadow wetland in Spring Valley will go dry. The site is revered and used in sacred ceremonies, and remembered as the site of massacres 150 years ago.
Environmental studies for the project took eight years before the bureau in December 2012 granted permission for the pipeline to cross 263 miles of federal land, but does not have a say in how much water is pumped. The Southern Nevada Water Authority tried to provide assurances that “if there wasn’t enough water, the state’s top water official wouldn’t approve the rights to pump.”
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Source: – Capital Press