Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Health, safety of community awaiting BLM approval

The residents of the tiny community of Baker at the entrance to Great Basin National Park are concerned that their health and safety may be jeopardized for the sake of some vague concerns about perturbing sage grouse.

This past spring the Baker Water and Sewer General Improvement District board decided it had to replace its decades-old, 250,000-gallon leaking water storage tank located on a Bureau of Land Management right of way. There were fears that the leak might result in contamination of the water supply or put the community firefighting capability at risk for its approximately 100 users.

The board came up with a plan to build a new tank on a 30-by-100-foot site next to the current tank and then demolish the old tank. The district received fast track approval for a loan from the state, which receives funding under the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, contingent upon receipt of a BLM permit.

In September the Interior Department, of which the BLM is a division, decided the greater sage grouse would not be listed under the Endangered Species Act but instead issued thousands of pages of land use restrictions as a means of protecting the bird — which still is legally hunted in several states, including Nevada.

When water district board members met at the site with a BLM representative, they were hit with a verbal list of unanticipated demands and told an expensive and time-consuming environmental impact statement would be needed due to those new grouse regulations.

And Nevada Governor Sandoval is upset with AG Laxalt for joining a lawsuit against these new BLM restrictions??  What has the governor done to help this small community?  What would the Governor say if it was the water supply for Las Vegas or Reno that was at risk?

Furthermore, take this one instance and multiply it across 67 million acres in 11 states and you can see what we are in for.

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