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Scrapped Las Vegas Pipeline Plan Looms Amid Swamp Cedar Debate

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada state lawmakers are considering strengthening protections for trees that Native Americans in the northeastern part of the state consider sacred.

The Duckwater and Ely Shoshone tribes gather in groves of swamp cedars to pray and mourn 19th Century ancestors massacred in the region's Spring Valley.

They have long joined others in efforts to block a proposed pipeline that would siphon groundwater from rural valleys to Las Vegas.

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The Southern Nevada Water Authority decided last year to indefinitely defer the project and stop pursuing permits. Proposals to make destroying the trees illegal and designating the groves as a National Heritage Area could hurt efforts to revive the pipeline.