Time runs out on comment period for canal proposal

Robert Perea, The Fernley Reporter

The 45-day public comment period ended Monday afternoon on the Draft Environmental Statement produced by the Bureau of Reclamation that recommends lining a 12.7-mile stretch of the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District Canal through Fernley.

The City of Fernley had filed suit against the BOR seeking to extend the public comment period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the Bureau of Reclamation to cancel two scheduled public meetings on the proposal.

However, that petition was rejected.


In its response to the suit, the BOR argued that in-person meetings were not mandatory.

Federal District Court Judge Miranda Du agreed. In dismissing the case, Du wrote in her order that “contrary to Fernley’s argument, the duties it seeks to impose on Reclamation are discretionary, rather than mandatory.”

The City of Fernley and other residents submitted comments to the BOR, expressing concerns that lining the canal would stop the recharge of groundwater used by the City and by private wells and eventually cause those wells to go dry.

The Bureau of Reclamation is required to respond to each of the comments. After that, it will issue its final Environmental Impact Statement, and then a Record of Decision will be issued. The City and residents will have the opportunity to review the final EIS.

Note: This story was updated at 7:57 p.m. to include the details of the dismissal of the suit by Federal District Court Judge Miranda Du.

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