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, 2008) by “The Ripple Effect” (Simon & Schuster, 2011). Emily Green wrote the Sun series and Alex Prud’homme wrote “The Ripple Effect.” Quenching Las Vegas’ Thirst was comprised of five parts. Part 1: “Satiating a booming city” Part 2: “The chosen one” Part 3: “The equation: No water, no growth” Part 4: “Not this water” Part 5: “Owens Valley is the model of what to expect” I. CREDIT A. Index. “Ripple Effect gives the Las Vegas Sun four credits, each to justify borrowing quotes, in the index. a) Text page 168: “Taking water out of storage is mining,” he reminded Katzer, according to the Las Vegas Sun. b) Text page 168: “It was a dirty trick!” state senator Virgil Getto complained to the Las Vegas Sun. c) Text page 172: When he forecasts the effect of transporting water out of the Great Basin, Durbin told the Las Vegas Sun, “The Owens Valley is a model of what to expect.” d) Text page 172: In 2007, Durbin testified before Nevada State engineer Tracy Taylor but didn’t mention the results of his model because, he told the Las Vegas Sun, no one asked about them. B. “Notes.” The text of “The Ripple Effect” eschews footnotes. However, the “Notes” section citing sources for Chapter 15, cites three of the five parts of the Sun series as follows: a) Text page 381: 167 Terry Katzer: Emily Green, “Not this water,” Las Vegas Sun, June 22, 2008 (Part 4 of Sun series) b) Text page 381: 168 Virgil Getto: Emily Green, “The Chosen One,” Las Vegas Sun, June 8, 2008. (Part 2 of the Sun series) c) Text page 381: 168 SNWA spent $78 million: Emily Green, “Not this water,” Las Vegas Sun, June 22, 2008 (Part 4 of the Sun series) d) Text page 381: But in 2000, Harry Reid: Baker interview. See also Green, “Not this water.” (Part 4 of the Sun series)
e) Text page 382: In 2006, Pat Mulroy declared: Green, “Not this water.” (Part 4 of the Sun series) f) Text page 382: Durbin told the Las Vegas Sun: Green, “Owens Valley is the model of what to expect.” (Part 5 of the Sun series) C. Questionable note. a) Text page 382: Pat Mulroy shrugs off Durbin and Katzer: Mulroy interview. (This is suspect for two reasons. The story about Durbin and Katzer appeared in the Sun on June 29,2008. Prud’homme purportedly interviewed Mulroy on May 16, 2008. At the time Durbin had not spoken publicly about the Durbin-Katzer memo, which was an exclusive product of the long Sun investigation. Second, as noted below in section III, the language used by Prud’homme is strikingly similar to that of the Sun piece. D. Failure to note. There is complete failure to note information taken from parts 1 and 3 of the series, “Satiating a booming city” and “The equation: No water, no growth.” a) Text page 162. Source for ground caving in under Nellis Airforce base, (part 1 Sun series “Satiating a booming city”) b) Text page 163. Source for Bunker history, (Part 1 Sun series “Satiating a booming city”) c) Text page 167. Source for desert description, (Part 1 Sun series “Satiating a booming city,” see See III Similar/Same wording, Example A.) d) Text page 168. Source for Bredehoeft/Katzer/Durbin history, definition of mining (Part 5 Sun series, “Owens Valley is the model of what to expect.”) e) Text page 168. Source for Pat Mulroy filing claims (Part 2 Sun series, “The Chosen One.” Also see III, Example G. below for similar/same language.) f) Text page 169. Source for explanation of greasewood, phreatophytes, beneficial use, plan to intercept the plants’ water and dust as explained in the Sun series, Part 5, “Owens Valley is the model of what to expect.” Also see III, Example H below for similar/same language) g) Text page 170. Source for Reid/Baker history as explained in Part 3 of the Sun series, “The Equation: No water, no growth). Also see III, Example I below for similar/same language. h) Text page 170. Source for history of the Great Basin National Park as explained in two parts, “The Equation: No water, no growth” and “Not this water.” Also see III, Example J below for similar/same language i) Text page 172. Source of Durbin’s remorse and decision to
reappear before the State Engineer and the SNWA reaction, as explained in the Sun “Owens Valley is the model of what to expect.” Also see III, Example M for similar/same language. II. GENERAL RELIANCE Much of the sourcing by Prud’homme from the Sun series is rewritten to a standard that might or might not comply with non-fiction definitions of fair use. I don’t know. However, the Harry Reid / Dean Baker story (p. 170), the Pat Mulroy / Richard Bunker story (p. 163), the Utah / Nevada politicking (p. 171), the origin of the pipeline scheme (p. 167-68) and the modeling scandal (p. 172) were wholly original themes in the Sun series and the product of more than a year’s work. (Page numbers refer to the Prud’homme book.) III. SIMILAR / SAME WORDING In some instances, however, the language is so close as to have no other reasonable explanation than plagiarism. Example A. Part 1, page 2 of attached PDF of the Sun series. Emily Green wrote: Las Vegas lies at the intersection of three deserts. To the west is the Mojave, to the south the Sonoran and to the north the Great Basin. The Sonoran Desert marries California, Arizona and Mexico. The Mojave is largely a Californian desert that spills into Southern Nevada. Both are known as “hot” deserts, names that make more sense when it is 120 degrees in the summer than 10 below freezing on a winter night. Rains do come, but so rarely that the Sonoran’s saguaro cactuses and the Mojave’s Joshua trees have become international symbols of stoicism. North of Las Vegas, the Great Basin Desert begins. It too is largely dry, but this is a “cold desert.” Its altitudes are higher, its winters longer and colder, and its valleys are fed largely by snowmelt. The Great Basin Desert covers most of Nevada and relaxes eastward across the Utah border to claim the oldest stretches of Mormon country. Page 167 of “The Ripple Effect”, Prud’homme: Las Vegas sits at the intersection of three deserts. To the south is the Sonoran, to the west is the Mojave, and to the north lies the Great Basin. The Sonoran and Mojave are “hot” deserts, where the temperature can rise to 120 degrees on a summer day, and fall to 10 below zero on a winter night. The Great Basin, which covers most of Nevada and part of Utah, is a “cold” desert surrounded by snowy peaks. During the spring snowmelt, those peaks release billions of gallons of water into
the carbonate aquifers of the Great Basin, a vast endorheic watershed (one that doesn’t flow to the sea) that extends between the Wasatch Mountains to the east, to the Sierra Nevada to the west, and from Utah into Nevada. (not noted) Example B. Part 5, page 4 of attached PDF of the Sun series. Emily Green: In the 1980s, when ground around wells in the Las Vegas Valley had collapsed in feet, not inches, from pumping, geologist Terry Katzer got an idea. He was in the Nevada office of the Geological Survey, one of the many western research outposts then overseen by John Bredehoeft. He asked Bredehoeft: Could Great Basin ground water be moved south to Las Vegas? Not without mining, Bredehoeft responded. Page 167 of “The Ripple Effect.” Prud’homme: In the mid1980s, when many of the wells in the Las Vegas valley began to go dry, a USGS groundwater specialist named Terry Katzer had a brain flash: what if Las Vegas could tap into the aquifers beneath the sparsely inhabited valleys of the Great Basin Desert? (noted, page 381) Example C. Part 5, page 10 of attached PDF of the Sun series. Emily Green: Of Durbin’s work, she [Pat Mulroy] says, “It’s just a model!” Shortly before publication of this series, Mulroy’s information officer dismissed the Durbin-Katzer memo as “recommendations from two consultants to a contract attorney on one potential course of action. That is two bus transfers and a cab ride short of being a policy.” Page 172 of “The Ripple Effect.” Prudhomme: Pat Mulroy shrugs off Durbin and Katzer as “two consultants” and their research as “just a model.”(Credits this to his own interview) Example D. Part 2, page 2 of attached PDF of the Sun series. Emily Green: Mulroy was so capable that Bunker quickly promoted her to lobbyist for Clark County, working the halls of the Nevada Legislature in Carson City. She drafted and then politically finessed legislation creating the public administrator’s office. (If you die intestate in Clark County, your heirs will find out what this office does.) This was most definitely not wild, but it taught her how to turn ideas into laws.
Page 163 of “The Ripple Effect.” Prud’homme: Mulroy proved so effective that she was sent to Carson City to lobby for Clark County before the state legislature. It wasn’t glamorous work, but it taught her how to create legislation and get it passed. (Not noted) Example E. Part 1, page 7 of PDF of the Sun series. Emily Green: There was so much native ground water in early Las Vegas that not only did boys swim in springs, but according to Florence Lee Jones’ classic “Water: The History of Las Vegas,” homeowners routinely left town with their sprinklers running. Who knew that the local springs would be pumped dry? As it turned out, a succession of state engineers knew. By the 1950s, the valley had been pumped so hard that the ground was caving in beneath Nellis Air Force Base. Just as the golf courses began cropping up around casinos, the Strip had been pumped to capacity. Capping the wells and getting water users to hook up to a newly formed water system eventually killed the man who issued the battle cry. Months after the water stopped briefly in Las Vegas and state engineer Edmund Muth was driven from his job, he died of a heart attack. It was 1962, the same year the springs stopped flowing to the surface. Page 162 of “The Ripple Effect.” Prud’homme: The springs at Las Vegas had so much natural water pressure that they were said to erupt from the earth “in geysers.” [No source for quotation]. In the first half of the twentieth century, enough water was in the aquifers beneath Las Vegas that kids swam in the springs and lawn sprinklers were ubiquitous. But as the city expanded, groundwater levels dipped. By the 1950s, the water beneath the valley had been pumped out so thoroughly that the land began to subside, and parts of Neillis Air Force Base caved in. The hotels and casinos and golf courses that came to define Las Vegas proliferated, but most of the springs had run dry by 1962. (Not noted, Prud’homme says he will add a note.) Example F. Part 2, page 3 of PDF of the Sun series. Emily Green: She abhorred waste. The Las Vegas she inherited epitomized it. Page 163 of “The Ripple Effect.” Prud’homme: Abhorring waste, she embarked on an ambitious water conservation program. Not noted, presumably part of his interview with Mulroy Example G. Part 2, page 3 of PDF of the Sun series. Emily Green: So quietly, very quietly, Vegas prospectors scoured the water audit bulletins of the
state engineer, sizing up just how much ground water might be funneled out from beneath the rest of the Nevada to serve the Las Vegas Valley. In October 1989, seven months into Mulroy’s tenure as general manager, the Las Vegas Valley Water District filed applications in Carson City for unclaimed ground water in 30 basins across four counties, a prospective haul of roughly 840,000 acre-feet of water — reportedly half the unclaimed water in Nevada. Page 168 of “The Ripple Effect.” Prud’homme: In October 1989, the Las Vegas Water District (sic) quietly filed applications with the state engineer for “unclaimed, unused” groundwater in thirty basins in rural east-central Nevada, as an “insurance policy against drought.” This represented about 840,000 acre-feet of water, an amount believed to be the equivalent of half the unclaimed water in the state. Noted as “ibid.” Example H. Part 5, page 3 of the PDF of the Sun series. Emily Green: Making the case in 2006 that hot desert Nevada needed the cold desert’s water was not hard. Seventy percent of Nevadans lived in or around Las Vegas. What was difficult was demonstrating the cold desert had water to spare. Arguing that it didn’t would be the Princeton-educated eminence grise of American ground water, John Bredehoeft, whose title at the U.S. Geological Survey in the 1970s and ’80s was no less than Regional Hydrologist Responsible for Water Activities in the Eight Western States. Bredehoeft had been aware of Las Vegas pipeline plan from its inception. He never liked it. Bredehoeft was going to appear at the Spring Valley hearing as an expert witness for rural communities protesting the Las Vegas pipeline. As he explains it, there is no water to spare for Las Vegas without disrupting the equilibrium between water flowing in from snowmelt and water taken out every year by ranchers, plants and animals. Las Vegas managed to insert itself into this equation because under Nevada water law, only some of the Great Basin’s traditional water users are legally entitled to it. Towns are, farms are, mines are, but under increasingly antiquated definitions developed in the first half of the last century to do with “beneficial use,” most of the native flora isn’t. Following this logic, water used by plants such as the cold desert’s signature shrub, greasewood, may be legally diverted hundreds of miles away to Las Vegas. But by the time Las Vegas was going for greasewood’s share of Spring Valley’s water in 2006, the law of “beneficial use” was at loggerheads with a host of other modern laws protecting the environment. Greasewood belongs to a class of plants called “phreatophytes,” named because their long roots are capable of reaching deep underground to access the water table.
As Bredehoeft sees it, if Las Vegas sinks its wells and the roots of the phreatophytes continue to chase the descending water table, that means Las Vegas won’t be taking the water from the greasewood but from storage in the aquifer. “Taking water out of storage,” he says, “is mining.” Mining ground water is illegal in Nevada. Mine enough of it and the water table can drop for hundreds of miles around. Springs stop flowing, streams disappear, plants and animals dependent on them die. So the logic goes: Target the phreatophytes whose water you intend to take, and don’t allow them to compete for water. Pump hard. Kill them fast. Then let the system return to equilibrium so what water comes in from snowmelt equals what is taken out by Las Vegas pumps, and the water table doesn’t fall inexorably. But this weeds-for-water logic becomes a problem when greasewood serves an important function above and beyond offering forage to deer and cattle. Phreatophytes prevent dust storms. page 6-7 of PDF of the Sun series. Emily Green: They sent Taggart a memo laying out a strategy, emphasizing the need to kill off phreatophytes for the Las Vegas pipeline plan. First, Las Vegas could take the pipeline to relatively uninhabited “dry” valleys of Lincoln County. This would be stopgap. There weren’t enough greasewood-type plants here whose water they could legally intercept. … This would buy time to get to the more verdant “wet valleys” of the northern cold desert, where mining wouldn’t be such a worry. There were plenty of phreatophytes in Spring Valley to part from their water. Once Las Vegas got into Spring Valley, Katzer and Durbin recommended buying water rights from ranchers willing to sell. This would preempt protests. Then, they recommended, Las Vegas should pump hard to quickly kill off greasewood communities. With Spring Valley on line, they could then ease up in “dry” Lincoln County in time to spare Pahranagat Valley and the White and Muddy rivers. Their plan — effects and all — on record within the water authority, Durbin and Katzer worked on the model and pumping strategy throughout 2004 and 2005. … As the Spring Valley hearing approached in September 2006, after five years’ work, Durbin’s model was finally ready to simulate pumping for the full 90,000 acre-feet of water being sought by Las Vegas. The result? The level of the water table underlying Spring Valley would drop on the order of 200 feet or more over 75 years. This would, as Durbin and Katzer had envisioned, indeed kill off Spring Valley’s phreatophytes. And with no water saturating the top soil and no roots to anchor it, the parched earth of Spring Valley could indeed become a new Owens Valley. Page 169 of “The Ripple Effect.” Prud’homme: The SNWA applied to the state engineer for a permit to suck more than 16 billion gallons of groundwater a year from Snake Valley … The agency has characterized this water as “unused.” To do so with a straight face, it has relied on Western water law to argue that native plants, such as greasewood, are not “legally entitled” to the valley’s water as they
have no “beneficial use.” Greasewood, which serves as forage for cattle and deer, is a phreatophyte, a class of plant with long roots that stretch deep underground. Las Vegas’s plan is to target “weeds” such as greaswood: pumping hard and fast would kill them off; once the plants are gone, the city will use the snowmelt previously claimed by the plants. But not only does greasewood support animal life, its sturdy roots hold the earth in place. Killing off the phreatophytes could lead to dust storms that might rival those blowing off the Owens and Mono lake beds. Not noted Example I. Part 3 of the Sun series, page 3 of PDF. Green: The Senate majority leader was born in 1939 to an alcoholic hard rock miner, also named Harry Reid, in a Mojave mining camp roughly 60 miles south of Las Vegas. His mother worked as a laundress for the brothels serving Reclamation men working south of Hoover Dam. Page 170 of “The Ripple Effect.” Prud’homme: Reid, who was named Senate Majority Leader in 2007, was born in Searchlight, a mining camp south of Las Vegas, in 1939, the son of an alcoholic miner (who committed suicide) and a mother who was a laundress for brothels.Not noted Example J. Part 3 of the Sun series, “The Equation: No water, no growth,” page 7 of PDF. Green: Before Reid became a senator, Nevada had every class of federal land except a national park. In 1986, in his next to last year as a congressman, Reid changed that. Others had tried during the previous 60 years, none harder than passionate park advocate Senator Alan Bible. “Alan Bible represented Nevada for 20 years in the Senate and couldn’t get it done!” historian Michael Green says. The most logical setting for a park was Wheeler Peak, Nevada’s second-highest mountain. Its outline could have jumped off the state seal. It had sweeping vistas of Utah to the east and Nevada to the west. Moreover, it had the kinds of attractions it takes to achieve park status: Lehman Caves, a Tiffany’s of stalagmites and stalactites, and bristlecone pines, gnarly trees older than the pyramids. … In 1985, Reid took up the cause for a park. The Sierra Club backed it. So did urban romantics. But as Reid got to Mount Wheeler, he soon learned that the last thing the pioneer-stock ranchers of White Pine County wanted was park rangers telling them where they could and could not graze their cattle. Page 170, “The Ripple Effect.” Prud’homme: In 1985, Reid helped to promote Great Basin National Park, a seventy-seventhousand-acre preserve famous for the Lehman Caves and ancient stands of bristlecone pine. The park had been debated for sixty
years; Nevada had no national park, and Reid was determined to fix that. He had the support of a wide coalition of environmentalists and urbanites. The biggest hurdle was water. Local ranchers such as Dean Baker worried that a park designation might curtail their access to aquifers and opposed it. But when Reid gave his word that the ranchers’ water supply would be protected, they relented, and the park was signed into existence in 1986. Not noted Example K. Part 4 of the Sun series, “Not this water,” page 8 of the PDF. Green: In 1985, then congressman Reid had sat at Dean Baker’s kitchen table. He was there to talk about creating a national park out of Wheeler Peak. At first, Baker was opposed. He was worried about grazing and water rights. Reid listened and, Baker now concedes, “He worked diligently.” When the act creating the Great Basin National Park passed the next year, Reid saw to it that grazing rights were protected. So was Baker’s water. An ebullient Reid phoned Baker from Washington, shouting, “We did it! It’s a done deal!” Page 170, “The Ripple Effect.” Prud’homme: The biggest hurdle was water. Local ranchers such as Dean Baker worried that a park designation might curtail their access to aquifers and opposed it. But when Reid gave his word that the ranchers’ water supply would be protected, they relented, and the park was signed into existence in 1986. Not noted precisely Example L. Part 4 of the Sun series, “Not this water,” page 2 of the PDF. Green: Depending on how the states [Utah and Nevada] handled negotiations, what followed could either be a silky case of quid pro quo, or an all-out Western water war. Each side wanted something from the other. Las Vegas wanted to pump Great Basin ground water on the state line. Utah wanted to get a bill through Congress that would help hook up its booming southern city of St. George to the Colorado River. Page 171, The Ripple Effect, Prud’homme: But Utah’s opposition wasn’t simply a principled defense of its farmers; Utah would like to build a 158-mile pipe of its own, which would suck water from Lake Powell and send it through Southwestern Utah, then up to St. George, a retirement mecca and one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. Behind closed doors, representatives of the two states tried to
forge what appeared to be a quid pro quo: if Nevada backed Utah’s bid for a St. George pipeline (which would require a federal right –of-way ruling), then Utah would back SNWA’s pipeline to Snake Valley. Not noted though a follow up quote from Mulroy is Example M. Part 5 of the Sun series, “Owens Valley is the model of what to expect,” page 10 of the PDF. Green: Protesters braced themselves for a Las Vegas retort to Durbin’s appearance. There was none. The strategy all along had been to keep Durbin’s concerns off the record. Now that he’d had his day in court, they were not about to call attention to it. Page 172, The Ripple Effect. Prud’homme: To his [Durbin’s] surprise, the SNWA hardly reacted. Only later did he realize why: they had already gotten what they wanted – approval to pump water from the valleys – and had no incentive to call attention to his damming projections. Not noted
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