This arrived in my office moments ago....
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2006
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Ashdown Pledges to Stop Nevada Water Grab
SALT LAKE CITY, UT--After visiting Callao, Utah last night, Democratic US Senate candidate Pete Ashdown pledged to stand up against the attempts by the Southern Nevada Water Authority to pump water from the Snake Valley aquifer. Ashdown agreed with residents the SNWA's plan amounts to a "water grab" and that "Las Vegas needs to learn to conserve." The visit to Callao bookended Ashdown's travels throughout Utah during his 21 month campaign for the US Senate. Ashdown has visited places in Utah not visited by a major party candidate for statewide office in decades, such as: Manila, Bicknell, Tridell, Beaver, East Carbon, Green River, among others. Ashdown noted that in many of these places longtime residents cannot recall his opponent ever visiting the area.
The Callao town hall meeting was organized by Callao residents Cecil and Annette Garland, a rancher and school teacher, respectively. The Garlands, who led the fight against the MX missile project in the 1980s, have asked for help to stop what they call "an impending hydrological disaster" if the pumping starts. "We don't have any water to spare, and to take the water we have would kill this valley."
While the residents also asked questions about the Iraq war, energy independence, ethics in government, immigration, and other issues, the "make or break issue" was the water grab. Ashdown affirmed: "I think the [US Geological Survey] study needs go forward, but it will probably confirm the obvious." Ashdown also stated that this is an example of his conservative philosophy of government: "We need to conserve the Callao way of life; keeping the aquifer full conserves water and conserves the way of life." In the question it was noted that Hatch has not come out against the SNWA plan, "Even with Orrin Hatch's seniority, he's not really working for the people of Utah. He's working for media interests in California, for oil interests out of state, for pharmaceuticals of which there are none in Utah. We need somebody there that is from Utah, working with Utah, dealing with Utah, and I know I can do that."
Ashdown noted how he will bring up this and other rural issue in the future debates with Senator Hatch, including tonight's on Salt Lake City's Downtown, broadcast live on KUTV.