Max Wilbert, a long-time activist with Deep Green Resistance, has been working alongside indigenous peoples and other residents of eastern-central Nevada for the past few years as part of an effort to stop the theft of the land’s water. The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) wants to build a giant pipe to take water from these communities to fuel further expansion of the city of Las Vegas into otherwise uninhabitable desert. The project would cause destruction on many fronts, including to natural communities, to the life practices of indigenous inhabitants, to the economic livelihoods of other rural human communities, to the already dreadful air quality of Salt Lake City, and even to the pocketbooks of Las Vegas taxpayers as they subsidize a multi billion dollar giveaway to real estate “
Though opponents have successfully stalled the pipeline thus far, the SNWA is relentless in its pursuit of water. Like abusers everywhere, it won’t take “no” for an answer. In its early years of providing legal support to Pennsylvania communities under corporate assault, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund found that challenging permits in court simply helped the corporations write better permits until their projects went through. And as activists have seen time and time again, if they win victories under the current set of laws, those in power simply change the laws to gain their objective.
SNWA has been working on their water grab scheme for decades, and shows no signs of giving up. Every legal win by opponents, such as a recent Nevada Supreme Court ruling that the State Engineer must provide additional information supporting the extraction, is only a temporary delay. Given enough time, the SNWA will almost certainly get the project approved, resulting in permanent damage to the area.
Wilbert is worried about the eventual outcome. This pipeline, like millions of other threats to life around the globe, won’t truly be stopped until the whole system of civilization is halted. So long as the flows of oil and electricity continue, so long as resource-consuming cities expand, so long as capitalism drives daily decisions, will the assault continue on what’s left of the world.
To turn the tide, we need your help. Please get involved in the fight for life, either with an organization like DGR, or on a local issue that resonates with you.