Judge sends Vegas pipeline plan back to feds for fix

Water pipeline graphic by MGN.
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LAS VEGAS (AP) - A federal judge tapped the brakes but didn't stop a proposal for a massive and expensive water pipeline to draw underground water from rural valleys in eastern Nevada to supply the growing Las Vegas metropolitan area.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon on Thursday ordered the federal Bureau of Land Management take another look at possible environmental effects of the Southern Nevada Water Authority project, and how they'd be mitigated.

The judge says the government needs to address "narrow deficiencies" in the environmental studies.

The water authority won permission in December 2012 for the pipeline to cross 263 miles (423 kilometers) of federal land from sparsely populated White Pine and Lincoln counties to the Las Vegas area.

Environmentalists predict the project would turn arid basins along the Nevada-Utah state line to dustbowls.

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