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Should Las Vegas get Snake Valley water?

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Piping water from the Snake Valley aquifer on the border between Utah and Nevada to Las Vegas could do irreparable harm, environmentalists say.

In a letter Monday to U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, a coalition of 23 organizations said that four agencies under his department, including the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, should lodge protests against the plan, the Deseret Morning News reported. The groups said that the department may have caved in to political pressure when its agencies failed to protest the Southern Nevada Water Authority's application to draw water from central Nevada.

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"We believe these actions constituted an abrogation of the responsibility of those agencies to preserve and protect the environmental resources within their jurisdictions and the interests of the tribes and people they serve," Great Basin Water Network coordinator Susan Lynn said.

The Utah Association of Counties plans to adopt a resolution aimed at the Interior Department. Officials say that starving the Snake Valley of water could harm distant areas in Utah as dust blows across the state.

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