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Find out more from the Center for Biological Diversity:
Dirty Energy Development
Desert tortoise
Las Vegas Sun, May 14, 2009

Environmental group serves notice to sue federal agencies
Land use plan for east-central Nevada in question

By Mary Manning

The Center for Biological Diversity today served notice on two federal agencies that it intends to challenge a government plan for managing a wide swath of public lands in east-central Nevada.

The notice puts the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on notice that the center plans to sue over the Ely Resource Management Plan that covers about 11.5 million acres of public lands in White Pine, Lincoln and part of Nye counties, said Amy Atwood with the Center for Biological Diversity.

The plan covers ongoing activities such as off-road vehicles, grazing, mining and power plants, Atwood said.

The plan allows for selling public lands for building three new coal-fired power plants, which are the White Pine Energy Station, Toquop Energy Project and Ely Energy Center.

The area covered by the plan is home to a diverse range of rare wildlife and plants, Atwood said. Species include the desert tortoise; the following fish: the Big Spring spinedace, the White River springfish, the White River spinedace, the Pahrump poolfish, the Hiko White River springfish, the Pahranagat roundtail chub, the Railroad Valley springfish; a bird, the southwestern willow flycatcher, and an orchid, the Ute ladies' tresses. All of the species are protected by the Endangered Species Act, Atwood said.

The notice was faxed and sent by certified mail to the two federal agencies, Atwood said.

"The Ely Resource Management Plan commits to ecological disaster," said Atwood, senior attorney and public lands energy director at the center. "It perpetuates off-road vehicle use in desert tortoise critical habitat and does nothing to promote conservation and recovery of the many rare species in the planning area. And the power plants authorized by the plan would be totally inconsistent with the need to phase out coal immediately."

If the agencies fail to take action to remedy the violations described in the notice, the center intends to sue the two agencies for violating the Endangered Species Act on or after June 28, Atwood said.

© Las Vegas Sun
Photo © Paul S. Hamilton