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September 17, 2018
Contact — Great Basin Water Network – Howard Watts 702-523-3867
White Pine County – Gary Perea 775-761-6128

Ely, Nev.: The long-running dispute over plans to pump groundwater from eastern Nevada and Utah’s west desert to fuel development in Las Vegas is headed back to court.

Today, a broad coalition of 59 organizations and individuals opposed to the Las Vegas water grab pipeline filed a petition for judicial review [37 Page PDF] in Nevada’s Seventh Judicial District Court in Ely. The petition, led by White Pine County and Great Basin Water Network, appeals the Nevada State Engineer’s August 17 Ruling on the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s water rights applications for the pipeline. While the protestants agree with the ruling’s denial of water rights applications for the project, they object to a monitoring and mitigation program for the project that was approved at the same time. They say the so-called “3M Plan” is grossly deficient and would set a dangerous precedent for the future of Nevada’s groundwater.

In a most unusual move, the State Engineer is challenging his own ruling, claiming his decision to deny the water rights for the pipeline was unduly constrained by previous court requirements. The board of directors of the project proponent, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, voted last week to also file suit to overturn the decision that left them with no water for export.

While Great Basin Water Network and White Pine County say that the State Engineer’s decision is essentially a death-knell for the roughly 300-mile pipeline proposal, they have filed a petition for judicial review because they believe SNWA’s monitoring, management and mitigation plan is inadequate.

“Earlier iterations of the 3M plan were struck down by Nevada courts, and the small changes made this time leave it no less deficient,” said the coalition’s attorney, Simeon Herskovits of Advocates for Community and Environment. “Allowing approval of the 3M plan to go unchallenged could have dangerous implications for Nevada, and facilitate a future iteration of SNWA’s proposed pipeline.”

In their petition for judicial review, the coalition has asked the Court to uphold the State Engineer’s denial of SNWA’s water rights, but also to order him to deny the applications on the additional ground that SNWA’s 3M Plan is inadequate under the law. The 3M Plan would allow springs, wells, and wetlands to go dry while only providing token and temporary compensation for senior water rights holders and the environment.

The Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, Ely Shoshone Tribe, Duckwater Shoshone Tribe, the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and Millard and Juab Counties, Utah also have filed petitions for judicial review of the State Engineer’s decision, which similarly challenge the State Engineer’s approval of SNWA’s monitoring and mitigation plan.

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Press News

September 19, 2018 — Appeals pour in over ruling against Las Vegas pipe water plan — The appeals are piling up over a recent state decision blocking the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to pipe groundwater from Eastern Nevada. Four days after water authority board members approved a court challenge of State Engineer Jason King’s Aug. 17 ruling, opponents of the controversial pipeline project launched an appeal of their own targeting a specific part of last month’s decision — Las Vegas Review Journal [More Informtion]

September 18, 2018 — Pipeline opponents to SNWA: See you in court — Less than a week after the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) board voted unanimouslyto appeal a recent ruling by the state engineer that denied the authority water rights for its groundwater pumping and pipeline project, opponents are taking the matter back to court. Monday, a broad coalition of 59 organizations and individuals opposed to the SNWA project filed a petition for judicial review in Nevada’s Seventh Judicial District Court in Ely. Nevada State Engineer Jason King previously denied SNWA’s water rights applications before appealing his own decision, claiming his office was prevented from granting the water authority’s permits due to constraints by previous court requirements –[More Informtion] [More Coverage —]

September 18, 2018 — Utah groups want to tank Nevada's groundwater pumping plan — SALT LAKE CITY — A broad coalition of groups say a judge should tank a mitigation and monitoring plan associated with Nevada's efforts to pump groundwater in the arid desert next to Utah. A petition, led by Nevada's White Pine County and the Great Basin Water Network, was filed Monday in Nevada's 7th District Court objecting to the "3M" plan approved in State Engineer Jason King's August ruling —

September 13, 2018 — I-Team: SNWA head back to court to keep multi-billion dollar water siphoning project alive — LAS VEGAS - Southern Nevada water agencies are headed back to court to fight to keep a multi-billion dollar water project alive. During a special meeting Thursday, Southern Nevada Water Authority board members voted to appeal a recent decision by the state engineer which temporarily slammed the door on a controversial plan to siphon groundwater from rural Nevada — [More Coverage —] [Read/Download — SNWA's Petition For Judicial Review]

Great Basin Water Network works to protect the region’s water resources for current and future residents – human, animal, and plant. They are a broad coalition including ranchers, farmers, local and tribal governments, conservationists, businesspeople, and urban and rural residents across the political spectrum.

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