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For Immediate Release, January 20, 2010

Contact: Rob Mrowka, (702) 249-5821 or

Nevada Proposes to Continue to Pollute Lake Mead With Endocrine-disrupting Frankenfish Chemicals

LAS VEGAS— The Center for Biological Diversity submitted comments to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection this week objecting to the state’s plan to allow the discharge of 25 million gallons per day of effluent into Las Vegas Wash and Lake Mead without requiring that available technologies be used to take out endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The Center is formally requesting a public hearing to discuss the shortcomings of the plan. This comes on the heels of the Center submitting condemning evidence to the Division demonstrating that Lake Mead, Las Vegas Bay, and Las Vegas Wash are being polluted by unregulated endocrine disruptors.

“Lake Mead is a beloved national treasure, and is the primary source of Las Vegas’ drinking water. Action to stop the continued chemical pollution of Lake Mead is long overdue,” said Rob Mrowka, the Center’s conservation advocate in Nevada. “The Division has been warned that its activities are harming fish and wildlife in the lake. We hope it takes seriously its duty to put an end to endocrine-disrupting pollution and deny the permit application to dump these frightening, mutation-causing chemicals into Lake Mead.”

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that alter the structure or function of the endocrine system, which uses hormones to regulate growth, metabolism, and tissue function. They damage reproductive functions and offspring in animals such as birds and alligators, and may also affect humans and their babies. Endocrine disruptors enter Lake Mead under the Division’s authority via wastewater effluent and urban and agricultural runoff and are harming endangered species like the razorback sucker.

The Center petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this week to establish nationwide water-quality criteria for many of the same endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are polluting Lake Mead. When the EPA establishes water-quality criteria for these pollutants, the Division will be required to set limitations for their discharge into Lake Mead through the Las Vegas Wash. Currently, the highest concentrations of endocrine disruptors are found in Las Vegas Wash and Las Vegas Bay. This area is known spawning habitat for the razorback sucker and is a scant six miles upstream from the uptake structures for Las Vegas’ drinking water.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 255,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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