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Tribe, Sierra Club sue NV Energy over Reid-Gardner plant

Reported by: Reed Cowan
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Updated: 8/08/2013 8:03 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- Moapa Paiutes are claiming the Reid-Gardner Coal Plant is killing them. Now they're suing NV Energy.

The Moapa band of Paiutes and the Sierra Club have filed a federal lawsuit to require NV Energy to clean up contaminated lands and waters surrounding the coal-fired plant some 40 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

The plant is just a stone's throw from the Moapa Paiutes' reservation.

Tribe members have long had concerns about air pollution and coal ash dust from the plant, containing what they call high levels of toxins including mercury, arsenic, chromium lead and others.

Reid-Gardner is within the Moapa Valley. The nearest homes are within a few hundred yards of the plant.

Soil and groundwater contamination at the site exceeds federal standards for toxic pollutants including arsenic, selenium and manganese. Just in the four-year period between 2008 and 2012, monitoring wells for groundwater quality showed more than 7,000 exceedances of state standards.

Toxic metals from coal ash can cause several types of cancer, heart damage, lung disease, respiratory distress, kidney disease, birth defects, impaired bone growth in children and nervous system impacts, among other conditions.

In June, Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval signed SB 123, bipartisan legislation that put Reid-Gardner on a path toward full closure by 2017. The plant’s closure means work on cleanup, which could take several years, must start immediately.

“We are all looking forward to the retirement of the Reid Gardner coal-fired plant that has for decades polluted our reservation,” said Vickie Simmons, a leader of the Moapa Band of Paiutes’ Health and Environmental Committees. “And for the sake of our families’ health, we must ensure that the toxic waste from the power plant is fully cleaned up. The safety of our community and the future of our children depend on it.”

A spokesperson told News 3 they seek the closing of the plant and also cleanup to go with it.

NV Energy said it will not comment on pending litigation.
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