The 8 News NOW I-Team worked on a television special titled "Crossfire: Water, Power, and Politics." This was an in-depth examination of how Las Vegas growth is going to affect vast areas of the American Southwest. Rural Nevada is facing two dramatic challenges, both of which are directly related to our community's relentless growth.
One proposal would siphon billions of gallons of water from environmentally-sensitive but politically weak rural counties. At the same time, plans are moving forward to build three, massive coal-fired power plants in the same areas. Most rural residents believe their land, their air and their way of life are threatened by both.
Las Vegas leaders say the economy of the entire state could collapse if the plans are thwarted. No matter which side is right, our state will never be the same. Every resident, every business, whether urban or rural, has a direct stake in the outcome.
The issues involved are the most important of our time; global warming, conservation, growth, sustainability, economic justice versus economic realities, how to plan for the future. The decisions made in the next few years will affect the lives of millions of people for the next century and beyond, so it's important to get it right.
The I-Team has been working on the story for more than five years. The program included interviews with all sides -- elected officials in Las Vegas and the rural residents, environmentalists, scientists, ranchers, business owners, energy executives, water experts, Native Americans, proponents, opponents, and our political analyst Jon Ralston, who helped sort it all out.
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