We've been through much of that area in the Southwest. The feds are worried about a city damaging the desert? I guess that right is only reservered for the government,... Get real, it is mostly rocks and sand, dig the hole, fix the pipes, cover it back up and in a few months (or days) no one would be able to tell there was a hole or trench dug there,...

Yes, we experienced the same thing a few years ago while at Lake Powel in Utah. Were not allowed to leave the paved roads and walk in the unimproved lands because, our foot prints might hurt the desert rocks and sand.