77°F
weather icon Clear

Fight over Vegas pipeline plan heads back to court

RENO (AP) — A battle over a massive pipeline project to carry billions of gallons of water to Las Vegas from rural counties along the Nevada-Utah line is heading back to court this week.

Senior District Judge Robert Estes will hear oral arguments Thursday and Friday in Ely concerning opponents’ challenge of water rights granted to the Southern Nevada Water Authority by Nevada’s state engineer, Jason King.

Last year, King granted the water authority permission to pump up to 84,000 acre-feet of groundwater a year from four rural valleys in Lincoln and White Pine counties. An acre-foot is the volume of water needed to cover an acre of land with water 12 inches deep — about 326,000 gallons.

Both sides say they’re confident heading into the hearings.

“We are confident that the science, the facts and the law support our case that the state engineer’s decisions should be reversed,’’ said attorney Simeon Herskovits, who represents over 350 Nevada and Utah plaintiffs in the hearings. “There isn’t the amount of water available to export without devastating effects upon senior water rights holders, the environment and the communities in the region.’’

Plaintiffs include ranchers, farmers, environmentalists, rural local governments, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Nation.

Water authority spokesman J.C. Davis said his agency is confident that Estes will rule in its favor. The water authority serves the desert gambling metropolis that is home to some 2 million people and attracts 40 million visitors annually.

“The process for granting water rights in Nevada is rigorous and has been in place for more than a century and the Nevada state engineer followed that process to the letter here,’’ he told The Ely Times. “We believe the judge’s review will verify that the Nevada state engineer acted in accordance with Nevada water law.’’

Las Vegas officials seek to build the 263-mile pipeline to reduce the city’s dependence on the drought-prone Colorado River. The Colorado flows into Lake Mead, southern Nevada’s main water source. A study projected moderate to severe water shortages over the next several decades.

Both sides agree Estes’ ruling won’t be the last word on the pipeline project.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Pahrump butterfly release a tribute to lives lost

One hundred live butterflies were released during the annual Nathan Adelson Hospice butterfly release at the Calvada Eye this past Sunday.

Officials seek funds for new convention center as part of Pahrump Fairgrounds development

Nye County and the town of Pahrump have been making steady strides in the last few years toward developing the Pahrump Fairgrounds and Tim Sutton, manager for both the town and county, outlined all that has been accomplished at the site and what’s still to come in the future.

Greenlink opponents fear it will open ‘Pandora’s box’

Many are expressing economic and environmental concerns about the instrusive power project that will run transmission lines through Beatty and other parts of Nye County.

 
‘We want to know what’s out there’: Pentagon officials testify in UFO hearing

Pentagon officials testified Tuesday that the number of reports of unexplained aerial phenomena has increased, but there has been no evidence found to indicate the activity is from otherworldly aliens. Nye County has long been a hotspot for UFO sightings.

Meet Pahrump’s new librarian

It’s been nearly one year since the Pahrump Community Library has had a permanent library director but the search for a new leader is now at an end, with Vanja Anderson officially accepting an employment offer from the Pahrump Library Board of Trustees this month

How you can support local veterans

Pahrump community challenged to provide free meals for vets at upcoming Rib Extravaganza.

Burn ban begins May 23

The burn moratorium will continue until late fall and will not be lifted until temperatures are consistently below 90 degrees, which generally occurs in mid-to-late October.