A Las Vegas water pipeline project is threatening snail populations in three states, according to environmentalists.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will look at the cases for 32 species of snails in California, Utah and Nevada and determine whether they will be protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Associated Press reported.
Environmentalists at the Center for Biological Diversity had petitioned the FWS to consider the snails for federal protection.
Scientists have determined that the planned Las Vegas water grab could drive these springsnails to extinction, so we're really glad to see them advance toward the Endangered Species Act protection that could save them, Center biologist Tierra Curry said in a statement.
Curry also said the Southern Nevada Water Authority's pipeline scheme threatens other species as well.
The pipeline will be 300 miles long and cost $3.5 billion, the AP reported.
The Southern Nevada Water Authority is not concerned that the snails will interfere with the project.
What they characterize as a water grab is nothing of the sort, Water Authority spokesperson J.C. Davis said, the AP reported. We didn't seek it out. It is a matter of us asking permission to use water that the state says is available. We understand there will be a lot of rules associated with that water.