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Native Americans Give Earth Day an Early Start in Nevada



April 20, 2012

LAS VEGAS - Earth Day activities in Nevada get started today with a local tribe beginning a 50-mile march to the federal courthouse in Las Vegas to protest air pollution.

William Anderson, chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, is calling it a cultural and healing march which begins on tribal land.

On Sunday, the Southwestern tribes are asking all Nevadans to join them at the courthouse for a rally against air pollution from the coal-fired power plant which operates next door to the tribe.

"That's where we're inviting the public to come out to go ahead and march with us, and let our concerns out; how we want to protect our environment, and protect our land to go ahead and breathe clean air."

NV Energy says the Reid Gardner plant provides electricity for 335,000 Nevada homes. The utility says it has been taking steps to reduce pollution hazards.

The tribe says pollutants from the plant contribute to health problems ranging from asthma to heart disease. At the courthouse rally, tribal representatives are expected to call for the plant to be retired.

In addition to the rally, Earth Day also offers opportunities for family fun this weekend. Jane Feldman, the Sierra Club's Southern Nevada Group conservation chairwoman, says a good place to start is at GREENFest on Saturday at Town Square in Las Vegas.

"They are going to have three stages with continuous entertainment throughout the day. There's going to be a farmer's market. All of the exhibitors are being encouraged to bring kid-friendly games and craft materials."

A Sierra Club Inner City Outing will be held beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas to introduce urban youths to the outdoors.

More information on Earth Day events in Nevada is online at earthdaylv.com.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV
 

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