BLM sued over NV Energy landfill
LAS VEGAS (AP) – The Sierra Club and Moapa Band of Paiutes have sued the U.S. Bureau of Land Management over the expansion of a landfill for coal-ash waste about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
At issue is the BLM’s decision to allow NV Energy to expand the landfill onto public land at the company’s coal-fired Reid Gardner power plant, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The plant currently operates a landfill at the site near the tribe’s reservation. The BLM granted a right-of-way that provides the company with 240 acres of adjacent public land to expand the landfill and 315 acres of public land on a nearby mesa for nine new evaporation ponds.
The suit, filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, claims the BLM failed to prepare a formal environmental impact statement despite the expansion’s environmental impacts and failed to provide sufficient information for public involvement in the decision.
Representatives of the BLM and NV Energy declined to comment on the suit.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and BLM Nevada state Director Ron Wenker are named as defendants in the complaint, which seeks to ensure the planned expansion doesn’t harm the Muddy River and critical environmental areas at Gold Butte.
The suit asks the court to void the right of way until the BLM complies with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.
Sierra Club spokesman Vinny Spotleson said the BLM should not allow NV Energy to further threaten the health of the tribal community of about 300.
“Coal ash is incredibly toxic, and it is unsafe to expand this landfill and these ponds without appropriate safeguards,” Spotleson said.
An NV Energy spokesman said the Sierra Club “is being rather premature in its rhetoric” about pending guidelines on the toxicity of coal ash.