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Republican gubernatorial candidate Laxalt opposes SNWA pipeline, according to Channel 8

Daniel Rothberg
Daniel Rothberg
Election 2018EnvironmentIndyBlog
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Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who is running for governor as a Republican, told Channel 8 in Las Vegas that he opposes the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s effort to pump billions of gallons of groundwater from Northeastern Nevada and ship it about 250 miles to Las Vegas.

Earlier this week, Laxalt’s opponent, Clark County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak told The Nevada Independent that he too opposed the proposed pipeline, which was proposed in 1989 and has been mired in litigation for years. But on Thursday, Sisolak, who sits on the water authority’s board, voted to continue that litigation and appeal a complicated ruling from a top water regulator to deny water rights that the water authority might need to complete the project.

Laxalt, as attorney general, is statutorily required to defend the water regulator, state Engineer Jason King, who has said his office plans to appeal parts of his own ruling on the project. Laxalt has typically not taken positions on issues that his office is involved within an official capacity.

Domestic well-owners in Pahrump, upset with a recent ruling from the state engineer, have been criticizing Laxalt for defending the state engineer, even though Laxalt is obligated to do so.

“The office of the Nevada Attorney General is statutorily required to represent the state engineer and defend the policy decision in Order 1293,” a spokesperson for the attorney general told The Nevada Independent in March. “While litigation is pending, the attorney general cannot comment on the litigation or share his personal views about that policy decision.”

Even before Thursday’s vote, the Laxalt campaign had slammed Sisolak for his position on the pipeline because last year he voted for a long-term water resource plan that included the pipeline project as a potential option. Sisolak explained his vote on Thursday was not reflective of his opinion on the project, but that it instead reflected his opinion on the state engineer’s ruling, which he and others have argued would set a bad precedent for Nevada water law.

Disclosure: Steve Sisolak has donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.

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