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

For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Amy Atwood, (541) 914-8372, atwood@biologicaldiversity.org

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.

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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