The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to siphon away ancient groundwater from the Great Basin in Nevada and Utah and pump it 300 miles to fuel new Las Vegas sprawl. This will fundamentally damage the region's water systems and all the animals that have depended on them for thousands of years.
The pipeline would drain more than 37 billion gallons of water a year and export it to the driest desert in North America, sucking away the lifeblood of a wild area the size of Vermont. Greater sage grouse, Bonneville cutthroat trout, pronghorn and elk would suffer. Fourteen types of desert fish and 25 species of springsnails could die out completely.
This dangerous project is at an important decision point. We need your help to stop this pipeline.
Take action today to tell Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that there are better options for Las Vegas than stealing the heart of the Great Basin.
Subject: Deny the Southern Nevada Water Authority's Right-of-Way Applications
To Secretary Ken Salazar:
I am writing because I care deeply and personally about the Great Basin and all the plants and animals that reside there.
[Your comment will be added here]
I am appalled at the Southern Nevada Water Authority's request for right-of-way across federal public lands to pump and export more than 37 billion gallons of water annually from ancient aquifers in central and eastern Nevada to support unsustainable growth in southern Nevada. There are other viable means of meeting these water needs through increased conservation, smart growth management and desalination.
The BLM's own "final environmental impact statement" reveals the devastation that would occur. Water tables would drop up to 200 feet, and more than 137,000 acres of prime Great Basin shrub land habitats would be dried, destroyed and converted to dry-land grasses and annuals, supporting invasive species such as cheatgrass and Sahara mustard. More than 3,600 acres of wetlands would be destroyed, and more than 70 springs and 145 miles of perennial streams would be drained, some drying up completely.
The toll on species would also be staggering: 14 desert fishes such as the Moapa dace and least chubs and 25 species of rare Great Basin springsnails would most likely go extinct. The imperiled greater sage grouse, southwestern willow-flycatcher, Columbia spotted frog, northern leopard frog and Bonneville cutthroat trout -- along with iconic species such as mule deer, pronghorn and elk -- would also face widespread harm.
Furthermore, I want to make clear my adamant opposition to any federal subsidies or bailouts to fund this ill-conceived and disastrous project.
Please deny the Southern Nevada Water Authority's pipeline right-of-way applications based on the severe environmental impacts that they would cause. There are other, largely unexplored options available to the Southern Nevada Water Authority to meet the region's water needs.
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