Vegas pipeline hearing timeline sketched

FOLLOWING a series of damning court decisions that vacated almost 80,000 acre feet a year of groundwater awards to Las Vegas from four valleys in rural Nevada, the State Engineer has published a tentative schedule to re-notice and re-hear the cases. If the brisk timeline is kept, the decisions over whether or not to tap the Great Basin Aquifer to slake Las Vegas could come as early as mid-February 2012.

Under the new schedule, notices of the applications by Las Vegas for permission to tap rural groundwater over thousands of square miles will be published in regional Nevadan newspapers in November. The period in which affected parties may lodge legal protests entitling them to participate in the hearings will close in late December.

Is Obama’s Gain the Great Basin’s Loss?

NOT EVERY American politician happens to be fluent in Mandarin. But Utah Governor Jon Huntsman is; he served his LDS mission in Taiwan. He is also no stranger to international industry. His father founded the Huntsman Corporation, which became a global chemical company whose products most of  us know in the form of the Big Mac clamshell container. So President Obama’s choice of  the Republican governor of Utah for ambassador to China is no surprise.

But regionally in rural Utah, Nevada and California, Gov Huntsman has an arguably rarer fluency — with western water. Utah’s West Desert counties running parallel to the Eastern Nevada valleys targeted by the Las Vegas pipeline plan have no more influential ally than the Mormon Governor. Those counties staunchly oppose the Las Vegas pipeline. In a tour of the West Desert last year, Gov. Huntsman told ranchers assembled in Delta, Millard County, “I want you