General news from Nevada

Federal judge halts DOE’s use of Nevada water at Yucca Mountain

A U.S. District Judge has ruled that the Department of Energy stop using Nevada water to drill boreholes in the side of Yucca Mountain. A 20-year battle has been waged by the state to stop the Department of Energy’s plan to use the mountain as a nuclear repository. Yucca Mountain is 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Western Governors declare war on fire prone cheatgrass

A group of four Western Governors agreed on a common strategy to battle an invasive grass notable for increasing rangelands' risk to wildfire. The plan calls for millions of acres to be rehabilitated by planting sagebrush and native seeds to counter the alien cheatgrass, a native of Russia. The flammability of cheat grass works in the plant's favor because of its ability to tolerate frequent exposure to fire.

Thirsty Las Vegas seeks more rural Nevada water

Ranchers and farmers in Central Nevada are heatedly opposing a plan which would pump billions of water south to supply the booming growth of Las Vegas. The plan will draw 11.3 billion gallons of water from lakes in Lincoln County using a 250 mile pipeline. Ranchers claim that the survival of their cattle are dependent on many of the water sources featured in the plan.

Idaho Wildfire Could Be Record Setter

Fire season in the West shows no sign of slowing. The Murphy Complex Fire burning in southern Idaho and northern Nevada is the largest Idaho wildfire in nearly a century. The fire covers roughly 600,000 acres and could soon join with another Nevada fire. Several Idaho counties have been declared emergency disasater areas.

click here for Idaho fires satellite map

Nevadan joins sportsmen push for mining changes

Western sportsmen and wildlife advocates are teaming up to update the General Mining Act of 1872. The coalition argues that the outdated act allows hardrock mining companies to pollute streams, damage wildlife habitat and leave old mines unrestored. On Thursday the group will go before a hearing in the House to make the argument for modernizing the law.

Mining exploration up across Nevada due to high gold prices

The rising price of gold and favorable geology has led the Nevada Division of Minerals to increase exploration spending $164.9 million, a 36% increase from last year. Over a fourth of the world’s mining exploration budget is spent in Nevada according to a study of major mining companies.

Elko County ranchers honored for conservation efforts

The Natural Resources Conservation Service of Nevada honored two ranchers for restoring resources on their 40-acre ranch. Since buying the ranch in 2004, Lee Raine and Mike Laughlin, have worked to control invasive plants, improve local springs and manage livestock grazing on their land.

Off-roaders tearing up desert, former ranger says

Off road vehicles are tearing the desert apart according to a group of former government rangers. Stiffer fines, suspension of fishing and hunting licenses and confiscation of vehicles are policies recommended by Rangers for Responsible Recreation to curb destruction of watersheds and streambeds damaged by illegal off-road vehicles. BLM records show 6,600 violations by off- road vehicles in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and California over the past three years.

Nevada and Utah Forge Forward in Alternative Energy But Not Everyone is Seeing the Light.

Utah's Governor Huntsman is asking for federal funds to assist in his state's already active alternative energy research and development while Nevada is soon to open the nation's largest solar powered generating system. Nevada officials are keeping a keen eye on the energy bill in Washington,D.C., saying it is time the US Congress step and lead the way with a renewable energy portfolio. Staunch opposition to renewables lies in the South and Midwest where, officials from those regions state, access to such energy sources is limited and alliance to coal, natural gas and nuclear power is strong.
SLC Weekly Story
Las Vegas Sun Story

Still waiting for federal fire policy

Seven years after the Government Accountabiity Office first called for a comprehensive fire strategy, the agency told Congress it is still not in place. It may take decades to protect the 80 million acres of high risk public lands.

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