Need more proof that the Endangered Species Act has become little more than a means to an end for environmentalists?
Federal wildlife officials said Monday they will conduct an in-depth review of 32 Great Basin and Mojave Desert spring snails to determine whether they should be listed for protection as threatened or endangered species.
The decision stems from a 2009 petition by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society and Jim Deacon, founder of the environmental studies program at UNLV.
After a lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity's office in Portland, Ore., the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed in July to decide whether to list 750 plants and animals nationwide, including 54 in Nevada. The agreement, in part, called for the center to drop lawsuits on the spring snails and some 90 petitioned species in exchange for the federal wildlife agency setting deadlines on deciding whether to list them.
Why the sudden concern for obscure subspecies of snails, some the size of pinheads?
These outfits are not snail lovers. What motivates them is a desire to block any project designed to guarantee our children and grandchildren the necessities of human life in this desert -- in this case, water.
With all the rainwater cascading down the streets this week you might not think it, but the Las Vegas Valley is still overwhelmingly dependent on water from the Colorado River. That wouldn't be a problem if Nevada were free to draw a greater percentage of Lake Mead water for thirsty residents and tourists. But a multi-state compact signed during the Great Depression -- when Las Vegas was a mere whistle-stop -- allocates far more water to irrigate Southern California vegetables than to slake the thirst of Nevadans.
Until that can be changed -- and no one's holding their breath -- the Southern Nevada Water Authority is wisely seeking to complete plans to pipe groundwater here from sparsely populated east-central Nevada, so the project will be (sorry) "shovel-ready" in the event it should become necessary.
Enter the so-called wildlife preservation groups -- including a UNLV professor paid by our taxes -- desperately crawling around with magnifying glasses, seeking any weed, bug or snail about whose survival they can suddenly pretend to devoutly care about, when their real agenda is to block the pipeline.
And, as a pretext, any weed, mollusk or bug will do.