LAS VEGAS — Today a coalition of environmental and consumer organizations led by Food & Water Watch and Great Basin Water Network announced at a press conference that more than 2,000 Las Vegans so far have submitted statements in opposition to a proposed multi-billion dollar, 300-mile pipeline to siphon groundwater from rural Nevada and Utah for export to Southern Nevada.
Opposition statements are still being collected in advance of the Dec. 2 deadline and will be delivered to the state engineer, who has the responsibility to deny, partially deny or approve the demand by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to export 41 billion gallons of water annually.
The proposed Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) pipeline project would impose enormous environmental and economic costs on the state of Nevada and metropolitan Las Vegas, which already have among the nation’s highest rates of foreclosures, bankruptcies and unemployment, and threaten the recovery from a brutal recession. By most recent estimates, the project would cost upwards of $15 billion that would ultimately be billed to ratepayers. A study commissioned by SNWA showed that businesses would see their water bills more than double if the project is approved, while residential users would see their water bills triple.
“This pipeline is an extravagance we just can’t afford,” said Nevada Assemblyman Joe Hogan, D-Las Vegas, who spoke at today’s press conference. “This project is irresponsibly short-sighted. If we want Las Vegas to be around for future generations, we must make smart decisions about how we manage our most precious natural resource, and this pipeline is anything but smart.”
“In tough economic times, it is outrageous that such a boondoggle could be approved,” said Marie Logan, Nevada organizer for Food & Water Watch. “This pipeline project would only benefit a handful of developers while the 2.6 million Nevada taxpayers and thousands of Las Vegas ratepayers will be stuck paying the bill for a project that will ultimately bankrupt the state’s natural resources.”
The SNWA pipeline project would have an enormous and irreversible impact on the sensitive desert landscape of northern Nevada and even parts of Utah. It would affect many kinds of native wildlife, including several endangered species, and wild horses and burros. Even the pristine Great Basin National Park will be affected. The loss of vegetation will result in dust storms and could adversely impact air quality throughout the region of extraction.
Any resident of Las Vegas who is concerned about the economic and environmental costs of the pipeline project can sign and comment on the project here: http://bit.ly/sdpwqq. Comments will be delivered to the Nevada State Engineer. Residents can also contact their Clark County Commissioner and ask them to publicly oppose the project.
The coalition responsible for gathering statements of opposition of the pipeline project includes Food & Water Watch, Great Basin Water Network, Nevada Conservation League, the Toiyabe Chapter of the Sierra Club, Change.org, National Parks Conservation Association, Center For Biological Diversity, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Southern Nevada Residents for Responsible Growth and ProgressNow Nevada.
Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.
GBWN is a coalition of ranchers, farmers, American Indian Tribes, environmentalists, elected officials, and other concerned citizens dedicated to stopping destructive interbasin water transfers like the Las Vegas water pipeline, promoting wise water policies, and preserving the environment and economies of rural Nevada and Utah.