Is Vegas shortstopping Colorado River water?

The recently published final environmental impact statement for the Las Vegas pipeline shows Southern Nevada arguably tapping Colorado River water as an "instate resource."

BLM’s new “alternative” on Vegas pipe

Ever heard of the Council on Environmental Quality? Chaired by former LA Deputy Mayor Nancy Sutley, it’s a White House office that according to its website  “coordinates Federal environmental efforts.”  To judge by a recent update from the Bureau of Land Management, Sutley’s office may just hold the key for a compromise in a long-running battle over rural groundwater between Utah and Nevada. Using powers supposedly afforded by the Council, the Bureau is adding a new alternative to an environmental impact statement that may allow Vegas to pump and Utah to keep its water too. The only clear loser is the environment.

Vegas case for water surveyed

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare your reading glasses. Today the Bureau of Land Management is expected to publish a long-delayed draft environmental impact statement scrutinizing the impact to federal land of a proposed Las Vegas pipeline into the Great Basin. Long pipe (306 miles), long document (it’s expected to run more than 1,200 pages). An extended comment period of 90 days is expected. Click here for background, here for a link to the federal register. The comment period will start the day that a notice of publication of the EIS appears in the register.

Shortly after the federal comment period ends over access to public land for the Vegas pipeline, Nevada’s State Engineer will begin omnibus hearings to decide whether or not to award water to fill it. Previous awards by the former state engineer were thrown out by two courts, citing due process violations and unsound assessments of available groundwater

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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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