LAS VEGAS (AP) — Clark County officials have proposed a public lands bill aiming to create new conservation areas and allow for more development, but critics in Nevada and Utah say its language could allow the construction of a proposed water pipeline.
Dozens of regional organizations, tribes and government agencies oppose the draft legislation because it directs the secretary of the interior to convey federal lands to the water authority and grants them a right of way to federal lands for construction and operation of a power line, the Las Vegas Sun reports .
The Eastern Nevada Transmission Project calls for the construction of a series of buried pipelines that would pump groundwater along White Pine, Lincoln and rural Clark counties and deliver it to Las Vegas, opponents said. The proposed pipeline would suck up needed groundwater, drying plants and potentially causing intense dust storms.
The legislation in question reflects two previously granted rights of way, one of which is the same pipeline project right-of-way and environmental assessment that a federal judge directed the department to revise in August 2017, opponents said.
Water authority and county officials said the opposition is not based in fact.
"This doesn't have any bearing or implications at all for the development of groundwater resources in the state of Nevada," said Bronson Mack, a spokesman for the water authority.
This public lands bill has nothing to do with the project, Mack said.
"The Eastern Nevada Transmission project and the combining of these two right of ways will help facilitate the development and transmission of renewable energy and renewable resources into Southern Nevada," Mack said.
Information from: Las Vegas Sun, http://www.lasvegassun.com