Las Vegas Sun

October 22, 2018

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Has Trump’s presidency affected Las Vegas’ water resources?

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Evan Vucci / AP

President Donald Trump speaks during a “National Day of Prayer” event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Thursday, May 3, 2018, in Washington.

Very little has been done on the federal level to affect water here in Nevada during President Donald Trump’s 16 months in office, says Southern Nevada Water Authority spokesman Bronson Mack.

Some conservation groups expressed disapproval last December with the announcement that the Trump administration had approved leases for potential oil drilling and fracking on more than 30,000 acres of federal land in Nevada. Others, including Nevada politicians at both the state and federal levels, argued proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could harm conservation efforts.

“For years, our struggle to provide safe drinking water has been supported by a partnership with the federal government,” said Chris Giunchigliani, Clark County commissioner and Nevada gubernatorial candidate, in a September editorial to the Las Vegas Sun. “But unless Congress acts quickly, that help may be sharply cut back, or in some cases completely wiped out.”

Mack said ongoing negotiations for a Drought Contingency Plan among Nevada, Arizona, California and Mexico — which provides a framework on how each state will deduct its Colorado River quantities as Lake Mead reaches lower levels — is “the primary focus” of federally involved negotiations. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, will oversee the DCP negotiations.

“There were some questions at first, but I haven’t heard a lot within our organization about major concerns at the federal level right now that would give us any pause,” Mack said. “We have a great commissioner for the Bureau of Reclamation and we thankfully haven’t been affected by any partisan politics.”

This story originally appeared in the Las Vegas Weekly.