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Topic: Politics & Policy     Department: Letters

Reid's water grab

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It is good to see Harry Reid's cover being blown by Ray Ring (HCN, 8/3/09). For people in rural Nevada, Reid's two-faced BS is common knowledge. Here in Lyon County, Nevada's largest ag-producing county, Sen. Reid is the power behind the $200 million added to the Farm Bill to purchase the water rights of local farmers, supposedly to save the dying Walker Lake. This lake, which has historically dried up at least four times, is to receive all the ag water from Smith and Mason valleys.

According to Tony Lesperance, director of the Nevada Department of Agriculture, this diversion of water will destroy the agricultural economy of both Smith and Mason valleys. Lesperance further states that trying to save Walker Lake would be like the state of Utah trying to reclaim the Great Salt Lake.

As Ring stated, Sen. Reid is behind the 300-mile pipeline to bring rural water to Las Vegas. Regarding Walker Lake, Sen. Reid says he is trying to create an environmental legacy. However, we residents believe he is just using the environmentalists to get control of the water. Once the water, which is currently governed by Nevada, is purchased from the local farmers and transferred to Walker Lake, it will become federal water. Then, it would be very easy for the all-powerful Sen. Reid to transfer it to Las Vegas through a water swap with Los Angeles. Of course, the senator and his staff deny that there is any such plan afoot. But let's be realistic. It is Las Vegas that elects Reid.

James Kinninger
Wellington, Nevada

Far Fetched
Bob Fulkeson
Bob Fulkeson
Aug 31, 2009 02:41 PM
I am an vocal and active opponent of the Las Vegas Water Grab. But I find your idea that the impulse behind Senator Reid's work to save Walker Lake is to actually get the water so he can sell it to LA or Las Vegas simply preposterous.
The fact of the matter is that Walker Lake is dying, and the only water available is from upstream water rights holders. Reid got the $ appropriated to buy these water from WILLING SELLERS to help save this national treasure. He should be applauded for this, not wrangled into some outlandish conspiracy.
National Treasure???
James Kinninger
James Kinninger
Sep 06, 2009 02:17 PM
Bob Fulkeson mentions Walker Lake as a 'National Treasure' thus making it worthy of saving by taking the water from Smith and Mason Valleys. What makes Walker Lake more of a treasure than Nevada's two greenest and most productive family farming communities?
Bob also mentions that the water is only to come from willing sellers, but he failed to mention that Sen. Reid will make a federal water lawsuit go away if he gets the water for Walker Lake. Sounds like the carrot and stick version of blackmail to me.
Further, Bob mentions that the only water available to save the lake is from upstream users. Then why is it that only Nevada users are targeted? If Walker Lake is a National Treasure, shouldn't California users be targeted as well? Apparently Sen. Reid was unable to convince Senators Feinstein and Boxer (both Calif. Democrats and environmentalists) that Walker Lake is a National Treasure.

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