While proclaiming to be for conservation, two bills will legitimize speculation, create dangerous water markets and make it easier to export water — all in the name of profit.
We need your help. On Monday at 4 PM in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, two bills that will drain rural Nevada will have hearings, AB354 and AB356.
These bills will limit due process rights, undermine Nevada water law, legitimize speculation, harm the environment and drain rural communities. If I were a Wall Street Water Grabber, these are bills I would craft.
These bills create markets where water can be sold, transferred, and leased without oversight and meaningful public input. But state water officials are masquerading them as means for conservation. Not a single provision guarantees long-term conservation in either bill.
These bills will allow the commoditization of water in Nevada. They will allow for big entities to buy out farms, fallow fields, and wait for the highest bidder. They will facilitate inter-basin transfers and throw out the tenets of water law that provide an equal playing field for the public and the resource.
Look what we are up against.
A hedge fund operating a massive farm in Winnemucca has long advocated for proposals like these. Why? To legitimately fallow fields, sit on water, and sell it for a high price.
What’s more? Just today the lobbyist for Blockchains told a group of conservation groups that he wants to turn Nevada into Wall Street West. In order to do that, companies need more water. Where do they want to get it: from rural communities.
Help us keep water local. Help us stop a network of pipelines from sluicing across the state. Help us be a voice for what cannot speak.
AB354: This bill isn’t about banking water. It’s about marketing, selling and leasing water. The proposal also strips away important due process protections, potentially setting up dangerous violations of our constitutional rights. The legislation shuts out the public and blocks access to the courts. The bill offers no actual guarantees for the conservation of water. But it will allow faceless corporations to have greater control over our most important resource, allowing the State Engineer the discretion to abdicate authority to private interests. Most importantly it will make it easier to facilitate large-scale inter-basin transfers of water like the Las Vegas Pipeline.
AB356: This bill will allow an entity to buy and dry a farm in order to sell the water for profit. The so-called conservation measures in this bill offer no guarantees that water will actually be conserved. Why, because the bill explicitly allows for conserved water to be sold or leased. This is another masquerade.