Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013 | 1:30 p.m.
Map of Reid Gardner Generating Station
Sierra Club and the Moapa Band of Paiutes filed a lawsuit today in federal court to require NV Energy to clean up contaminated lands and waters surrounding the Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant.
Announcement of the lawsuit was made in a joint news release issued this afternoon.
The plant, 60 miles northeast of Las Vegas, is adjacent to the Moapa Band of Paiutes’ reservation in the Moapa Valley.
Tribe members have long had concerns about air pollution and coal ash dust contamination from the plant. Coal ash contains high levels of toxins including mercury, arsenic, chromium, lead, and many others.
The tribe and Sierra Club contend oil and groundwater contamination at the site exceeds federal standards for toxic pollutants including arsenic, selenium, and manganese.
Bipartisan legislation approved this year in the Nevada Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval put NV Energy’s Reid Gardner plant on a path toward closure by 2017. The imminent closure, though, means work on cleanup must start immediately, according to the plaintiffs.
“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.”
Rob Stillwell, a spokesman at NV Energy, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.