WHITE PINE ENERGY STATION
The Bureau of Land Management has decided to lease and sell public lands in eastern Nevada for construction and operation of three coal-fired power plants, including the 1,590-megawatt White Pine Energy Station near Las Vegas. Each year, this plant would consume enough water for 25,000 people and belch tons of pollutants into the air, causing adverse impacts to desert tortoises, endangered Colorado River fishes, greater sage grouse, ferruginous hawks, bald eagles, western yellow-billed cuckoos, and many other species, including an unknowable number of plants and animals that depend on wetlands and springs to survive.
In early 2009, the Center and a coalition of organizations appealed the decision to approve White Pine based on the Bureau’s failure to comply with various laws that govern development, including the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act, as well as its failure to consider the effect of the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions. Soon after, LS Power — the corporation that had been seeking permission to build the plant on public lands — announced it was indefinitely postponing construction due to current economic conditions and regulatory uncertainties. Still, the Bureau is continuing to defend its decision to sell public lands for this plant. Our goal is to stop White Pine’s construction, preventing the plant’s annual emission of 12.88 million tons of CO2 and withdrawal of 5,000 acre-feet of Steptoe Valley groundwater.
In May 2009, we warned the Bureau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of a suit if the agencies continue to ignore the plight of at-risk Nevada species in the face of all three proposed eastern Nevada coal-fired plants (White Pine, Ely, and Toquop), which a faulty Bureau land-management plan would allow to move forward.