Nevada head of Natural Resources: I am not carrying the water for SNWA

Updated 10.16am 3/1/2010. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the Nevada Legislature will send the proposed water bill to committee before disbanding its special session today. Governor Jim Gibbons may recall legislature for a vote on it once the bill is out of committee.

Governor Jim Gibbons’ instruction to the Nevada legislature to amend state law in a way that would retroactively legalize water awards made since 1947 will not render moot a recent state Supreme Court decision that threatens the future of a controversial Las Vegas pipeline project, a senior state official said today.

Rather, Allen Biaggi, head of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, insisted that the Governor’s instruction has been accompanied by proposed language that excludes from amnesty any awards made to the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

However, as pipeline protestors read the same document, they say they are better off staying in the

The screw turns

Updated 10.16am 3/1/2010. The Las Vegas Review-Journal  reports that the Nevada Legislature will send the proposed water bill to committee before disbanding its special session today. Governor Jim Gibbons may recall legislature for a vote on it once the bill is out of committee.

NEVADA Governor Jim Gibbons all but gave back what late last month the state supreme court took away when today he released formal instruction to the state legislature to revise a law “concerning the time in which the State Engineer must act upon a water rights application so that [it] applies retroactively to all applications filed with the State Engineer between July 1, 1947 and July 1, 2003 and so that provisions … apply retroactively to pending applications and applications/permits under appeal involving certain transfers of groundwater.”

The upshot? Fasten your seatbelt for some time travel. Those who protested the nearly 300-mile-long pipeline planned by

The governor will think about it

Fairly or unfairly, ever since a boozy incident in 2006 in which then Nevada gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons either groped a woman, or caught her during a slipping accident in a Las Vegas garage, the Southern Nevadan press has denied itself no opportunity to ridicule the man who the following year became the state’s executive.

The press attacks were arguably worse on the admittedly rare occasions when he made sense, and never so fierce as when Governor Gibbons dared question the wisdom of the swelling city’s proposed 300-mile pipeline into the Great Basin. (The second line of one such excoriation in the Las Vegas Sun in February 2008, headlined “Governor all wet,” read: “Fortunately, the governor alone cannot stop the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plan to pump ground water from White Pine and Lincoln counties.”)

But, last weekend, facing a potentially devastating ruling from the Supreme Court of

“At long last, things are getting interesting”

Last updated 2/4/2010, 5.30am PST.

SOME comments deserve to be posts. This is the case of the response today of Eyewitness News investigative reporter George Knapp to Sunday’s feature There will be blood and its account of recent judicial reversals in the plan of the Southern Nevada Water Authority to drive a nearly 300 mile-long pipeline to the feet of the Great Basin National Park in a quest for groundwater for Las Vegas.

Knapp wrote: “… Already, the Nevada Supreme Court’s monumental [January 28] decision is being characterized by SNWA minions as a minor speedbump, a temporary procedural oopsie that will be rectified in a moment or two. It is clearly more than that.”

It clearly is. As Knapp points out, legal remedy for pipeline protestors found wronged in the Nevada Supreme Court decision is likely to be decided by a district judge who in October voided water awards in

There will be blood

EW among us will become the face of a catastrophe, but Pat Mulroy will. In 1989 the general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District staked her career on her ability to drive a pipeline nearly 300 miles north in order to tap the Great Basin aquifer.

Only Pat, her employees and the wishful have ever denied the ultimate cost of the water needed to fill this pipe. Rather, for the last two decades, the question has been: Where will the suffering be felt?

If Pat got the rural water, disaster would befall the Nevadan basins whose groundwater she intended to tap. If she didn’t, it would strike Las Vegas, whose irrepressible growth for much of the last two decades banked on the pipeline to refresh its dwindling supply of Colorado River water.

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