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For Immediate Release, May 13, 2009

Contact: Amy Atwood, (541) 914-8372,

Lawsuit to Challenge Government Plan for Coal-fired Power Plants and
Destructive Land Management in Nevada  

RENO, Nev.— The Center for Biological Diversity today served notice on two federal agencies that it intends to challenge a government plan for managing a vast expanse of public lands in east-central Nevada.

The Ely Resource Management Plan, approved by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in 2008, controls the agency’s management of approximately 11.5 million acres of public lands in White Pine, Lincoln, and a portion of Nye counties, Nevada. The plan covers ongoing activities such as off-road vehicle use, grazing, mining, and energy production. It also allows for the sale of public lands for construction of three new coal-fired power plants: 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, including the desert tortoise, 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, the southwestern willow flycatcher, and the Ute ladies’ tresses – all species that are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act. The notice filed today indicates the Center’s intent to sue the Bureau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their failure to adequately protect these species in approving the plan.

“The Ely Resource Management Plan commits to ecological disaster,” said Amy 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 the 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.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is dedicated to ensuring that atmospheric carbon dioxide pollutant levels are reduced to below 350 parts per million (ppm), which leading climate scientists warn is necessary to prevent devastating climate change. Further development of greenhouse-intensive energy sources, including coal-fired power plants, is fundamentally incompatible with achieving this goal. If greenhouse emissions are not immediately reduced, the current atmospheric CO2 level of 385 ppm will rise to approximately 500 ppm by mid-century, triggering mass wildlife extinctions, catastrophic global weather and ecosystem changes, and tragic human suffering.

If the agencies fail to take action to remedy the violations described in today’s notice, the Center intends to sue the Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service for violations of the Endangered Species Act on or after June 28, 2009.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 220,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


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