@HighCountryNews: Judge tells BLM to redo plans for compensating for wildlife habitat that would be lost to massive groundwater project

Proposed pipeline from the Snake Valley to Las Vegas.

From The High Country News (Jodi Petersen):

In late August, a federal court ruled on a lawsuit filed by environmentalists, tribes and local governments over the BLM’s granting of a right-of-way for the 250-plus-mile pipeline. The judge said the agency had fulfilled its duties “for the most part,” but needed to provide better plans for mitigating wildlife habitat lost to pipeline construction. A separate lawsuit challenges the amount of groundwater involved; those hearings will be held later in September.

From The Las Vegas Review-Journal (Henry Brean):

Starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday, State Engineer Jason King is slated to hear two weeks of testimony for and against the controversial, multibillion-dollar project.

The hearing on 25 groundwater applications could decide how much the authority would be allowed to pump from Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys in Lincoln County and Spring Valley in White Pine County.

Water authority spokesman Bronson Mack called it “a significant stage in the permitting process.”

Simeon Herskovits, attorney for some opponents of the project, put it another way: “I guess you could say everything is at stake,” he said.

Just don’t expect a ruling anytime soon.

“It will be months,” said Susan Joseph-Taylor, deputy administrator for the Nevada Division of Water Resources. “These things take a while to put together. They’re complicated.”

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