I-TEAM: Farmers say they ‘get bullied and run out of business’ by SNWA

LAS VEGAS (CLASS) – Southern Nevada water customers may not know it, but we are all co-owners of a large ranch operation, hundreds of miles outside the Las Vegas Valley.

Landowners in eastern and central Nevada say they are being bullied and running out of business by a ranching competitor with unlimited resources – the government.

Hank Vogler, a rancher in the Spring Valley, says: “They bully me. They do all that kind of shit they have no right to do … they’re a state body for God’s sake.

Rancher Hank Vogler and his sheep have survived brutal winters, prolonged droughts, predators, poachers, you name it.

But Vogler is not sure he can survive the ongoing attack from one of his neighbors – the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA).

SNWA has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a failed plan to suck billions of gallons of groundwater from rural Nevada and send it to Las Vegas via a $ 15 billion dollar, 300 mile long pipeline.

As part of that plan, the agency spent close to $ 100 million on buying up large ranches in white pine county at high prices. The plan was torn down in a federal court, mainly because groundwater removal would create a dead zone in central Nevada, and the plan was officially declared dead, but Vogler suspects the actions against him mean the water grip is still on the table.

Hank Vogler said: “And I think. They’re just trying to keep their agreement. They think they’ll be able to build the pipeline.”

For years, Vogler was one of the most outspoken critics of the water grip.

Now he thinks he is targeting repayment.

There have been several clashes between long-standing ranchers and properties run by SNWA employees.

Vogler says SNWA has applied for additional water permits, including the same ones he has used to raise sheep for the past 21 years. He suspects that SNWA is behind the $ 28,000 fine imposed on him by BLM for the intrusion, that is, for using the water that has been his since 2000.

“I’m getting a $ 28,000 intentional intrusion. They’re trying to put 50 years of my life out the window. They’re trying to ruin my business,” said Hank Vogler.

Vogler claims SNWA staff vandalized his water system, deactivated the pumps, punctured holes in his trough and let his sheep die.

Hank Vogler says, “They tore out my troughs? They separated the check box on a well. They knocked holes in the waterfront George. If you and I did, we would be in Charlie Manson’s cell.”

Vogler says it’s not only his ranch in the crosshairs, but others will be targeted as SNWA’s ranch as it expands its activities.

The legal bills are already draining him dry, while SNWA has a huge legal team funded by water clients in las vegas.

Why is a government agency in the ranch industry at all?

Vogler says federal policies prohibit public authorities from obtaining grazing permits, but SNWA has them.

The Great Basin Water Network says the intent is obvious.

SNWA maintains its massive farming and ranch operations in eastern Nevada for one reason: To export water for sprawl growth in Las Vegas at the expense of communities and the environment.

Great Basin Water Network

Vogler says government agencies should not be allowed to drive people like him out of the market.

Vogler adds: “They have no business in direct competition with private companies that breed sheep, cows or alfalfa.”

A spokesman for SNWA, Bronson Mack, told 8 News Now that SNWA believes it is eligible to receive grazing permits as BLM has approved such permits over the years.

Mack added that there are no plans to pump any water to Las Vegas from the state-owned properties.

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