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LETTERS: California won’t go for desalination

To the editor:

In Dick Anderson’s letter on desalination, he writes that the Southern Nevada Water Authority building one or more desalination plants in California could lead to California giving Nevada some of its rights to Colorado River water (“Desalination a viable water solution,” July 5 Review-Journal). This will never happen, for at least two reasons.

First, California water agencies have hoped to build at least seven desalination plants that I know of along the coast. Plans have been in the works for five to 10 years. Every project has been stopped by environmental concerns. Desalination plants need two pipelines into the ocean — one intake to pump ocean water ashore, and one outfall to discharge the super-concentrated brine that is the waste product of the desalination process. The construction of pipelines or even expensive tunnels with intake and discharge structures at the end would disturb the marine environment.

The problems of sucking in fish and discharging water that is way more salty than the ocean are even bigger issues with the environmentalists and the California Coastal Commission charged with protecting the coastline. One $1 billion, privately funded desalination plant will come on line in November. Two groups of environmentalists, the Surfrider Foundation and Sierra Club, have vowed that no other plants will be built and consider the soon-to-open plant to be “the one that got away.”

If Californians cannot get approval to build plants to deal with their own drought, you can imagine the resistance to one or more plants to serve what many consider to be “Sin City.”

Second, California is in its fourth year of a severe drought. The state needs desalination plants and other expensive projects to help it deal with its own water shortage. If Nevada were somehow able to build a plant in California, it would not create a surplus of water. So there is no way California would be willing to give up any Colorado River water rights in return.

The SNWA might have better success trying to build a desalination plant in Mexico in return for some of that country’s meager water rights. Environmental restrictions are less strict, and Mexico might respond to offers of payment for receiving permission as well as cash for the water rights. In any case, the most logical, most effective and least costly solution to the Clark County water problem is to limit growth.



Don’t deny Dotty’s

To the editor:

For the life of me, I cannot understand why there is so much dissection of Dotty’s (“Slots of confusion,” June 30 Review-Journal editorial). It seems that Station Casinos and Boyd Gaming consider Dotty’s to be too much competition, but that is not true. There are just times when it is nice to have more of a choice, and some people don’t want to go to a big casino.

Station and Boyd properties are all great and have fine restaurants and buffets, shops and incentives. They should not worry about the customer being given another choice.



Reid’s conservation award

To the editor:

Sen. Harry Reid deservedly received the League of Conservation Voter’s 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. No matter how you feel about the senator, you can’t deny the work he’s done for the environment, not just for the country, but right here in Nevada.

Sen. Reid tirelessly and successfully fought against Yucca Mountain, created Great Basin National Park — thereby protecting some of the world’s most ancient bristlecone pines — and established the Las Vegas favorite Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Red Rock not only provides an outdoor playground for us city dwellers, but generates additional tourism. Sen. Reid has spearheaded protection for all 70 designated wilderness areas throughout Nevada, so that future generations can enjoy clean air, clean water and outdoor recreation for years to come.

Sen. Reid is still working to conserve wild places and wildlife habitat. President Barack Obama announced last week the designation of Basin and Range as a national monument. Earlier this year, Sen. Reid introduced legislation to protect Gold Butte. This award has been a long time coming.



The writer is Southern Nevada manager of Friends of Nevada Wilderness.

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LETTER: A teachable moment on the U.S. debt

Thank you to Richard Strickland, whose May 26 letter to the Review-Journal about the federal debt provides a teachable moment for all of us.