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OPINION: Great Basin Park Foundation opposes Las Vegas water pipeline

By ThisIsReno

SUBMITTED NEWS RELEASE

Great Basin National Park Foundation confirmed today its concerns that the Southern Nevada Water Authority groundwater pumping project could harm Great Basin National Park.  In a letter to Amy Lueders, Nevada State Bureau of Land Management Director, the Foundation Co- Chair Robert Morrill wrote, “We believe that when the science is undecided, we should adopt the precautionary principle.  Therefore we believe that the project should not proceed in the valleys adjacent to Great Basin National Park until it can be demonstrated that the project will not impact the sustainability of the Park’s ecological, economic, and social resources.”

The letter quotes the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s comments regarding the BLM’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project: “The EPA gave the DEIS a rating of ‘insufficient information’ and specifically addressed potential impacts to Great Basin National Park.” The letter pointed to the EPA’s concern that mitigation measures may not be feasible in all locations and that the officials responsible for decision making about impact assessment and mitigation may not be able to reach the consensus required to act.  The Foundation urged the BLM to accept all the EPA’s recommendations, and to identify, in the Final Environmental Impact Statement, a preferred alternative that excludes any right of way or developments that allow for groundwater pumping in Spring or Snake Valley for SNWA’s proposed groundwater pumping project.

The Great Basin National Park Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to support programs and projects that enhance the values of Great Basin National Park.”  Its past accomplishments include funding a Visitor Center in Baker, Nevada with exhibits on natural and cultural resources of the Park; trail improvements; state-of-the-art telescopes for the Park’s night skies program; and compiling oral histories of Great Basin residents.  Members of its Board of Directors who approved the letter are Steven Brown of Reno, Caroline Bruno of Elko, Nat Frazer of Logan, Marc Johnson of Reno, Jerry Martin of Ely, Rebecca Mills of Berkeley, Robert Morrill of San Francisco, Mike Niggli of Las Vegas and San Diego, Cindy Ortega of Las Vegas, Peg Rees of Las Vegas, and Dave Tilford of Ely.