RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada's attorney general for the first time is joining rural Elko County in a 15-year-old legal battle with the U.S. government and environmentalists over control of a remote national forest road.

It's one of the longest running of many similar disputes across the West. Arizona and Idaho have mounted claims to such roads before, and Utah's attorney general has filed dozens of lawsuits asserting county right of ways on more than 14,000 roads on federal land.

Nevada hasn't tried to intervene since the government first sued Elko County in 1999 to halt the reopening of a washed-out road near threatened fish in the Jarbidge River. But newly elected Attorney General Adam Laxalt changed course this week with a request for friend-of-the-court status before an evidentiary hearing next month in federal court in Reno.