52°F
weather icon Overcast

Sanders talks mining, Medicare in Nevada

CARSON CITY — Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Monday announced his opposition to allowing new oil and gas exploration on federal public lands, including Nevada’s Ruby Mountains.

“Nevadans have resoundingly opposed any attempts to open the Ruby Mountains for oil and gas drilling, which would lead to the destruction of our public lands,” Sanders said in a statement. “Scientists have also been clear that in order to solve the climate crisis, we must leave fossil fuels in the ground. When we are in the White House, we will immediately end all new and existing fossil fuel extraction on federal public lands, including Nevada’s Ruby Mountains.”

Last year, the U.S. Forest Service considered opening up the Ruby Mountains to oil and gas leases but killed the idea earlier this year after receiving overwhelming opposition to the idea. Also, “unfavorable geologic conditions” suggested that there is little to no oil and gas potential in the area.

Sanders’ announcement came in the middle of the Democratic presidential hopeful’s three-day swing through Nevada that started Sunday in Elko. He made two stops Monday in Northern Nevada that included a pair of town halls in Carson City and Reno. Sanders will visit Las Vegas on Tuesday for two more events to round out his Nevada trip.

During his Carson City visit Monday, Sanders gave his wide-ranging stump speech that went over his campaign platforms on enacting “Medicare for All,” eliminating college tuition, addressing climate change, raising the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and several criminal justice reforms such as legalizing marijuana and eliminating cash bail.

■ When Sanders last visited Carson City in September, he had an emotional exchange with 58-year-old Navy veteran John Weigel. Weigel had been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a degenerative brain disorder, and had been mistakenly kicked off of Tricare, which is an insurance provider for active and retired military veterans.

At that event in September, Weigel showed Sanders his $139,000 medical bill and said that he was considering killing himself because he couldn’t afford it.

Weigel was there again to see Sanders on Monday in Carson City, and he told the senator that after their interaction in September, the offices of Nevada Sens. Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen got involved and were able to get him back on his Tricare and iron out most of the issues.

“Thank you for rescuing me,” Weigel told Sanders.

■ Biggest applause: Nothing fired up the Carson City crowd more than when Sanders talked about the need to address climate change, which he called a “global issue.”

“We have a planetary crisis. Anyone who tells you that is not the case is just not telling you the truth,” Sanders said.

■ Turnout: Roughly 400 people showed up to the Stewart Community Center for the midday event while about 900 supporters showed up to the Reno event Monday night, according to the Sanders campaign.

Contact Capital Bureau Chief Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
RJ Politics Podcast with Deval Patrick - VIDEO
2020 Presidential Candidate Deval Patrick joins hosts Rory Appleton and Steve Sebelius on the RJ Politics Podcast.
Tom Steyer on Donald Trump and the economy - Video
Tom Steyer joins the RJ Politics podcast to talk about his campaign presence in Nevada and how he plans to take Trump on when talking about the economy. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas City Council Votes On Homeless Ordinance - Video
The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday will discuss expanding on a controversial camping and sleeping ban aimed at deterring the homeless from bivouacking on city streets to include hours when public sidewalks are being cleaned.
Biden meets with Vegas Latino community - VIDEO
Presidential candidate Joe Biden met with members of the Latino community at Rancho High School. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Henderson, other Nevada cities consent to refugee resettlement - VIDEO
Henderson will continue to welcome refugees for resettlement, according to a December letter from Mayor Debra March. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg Speaks At Black Empowerment Event - Video
Pete Buttigieg speaks at a black empowerment event to talk about his Douglass plan.
Joe Biden at the national hospitality workers union.
Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to members of the national hospitality workers union during UNITE HERE's town hall on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019 at Culinary Union Hall in Las Vegas. @bizutesfaye
Elizabeth Warren at Culinary Union
Elizabeth Warren speaks at a Culinary Union town hall in Las Vegas on Dec. 9, 2019.
Secretary of Education visits Henderson school
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited students at Pinecrest Academy in Henderson to talk about college planning on Dec. 4, 2019. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trump dropped from Terry Fator’s show on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Fator has edited out one prominent figure: President Donald Trump, a focal point of Fator’s regular stage show and also Christmas show over the past 3½ years. The Trump puppet, with his pop-up hairpiece, has been sidelined from both shows until further notice. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Accused murder mastermind Frank LaPena is granted a pardon - VIDEO
A onetime Las Vegas casino bell captain who spent 25 years in prison as the accused mastermind in a notorious 1974 contract murder won his last legal battle for freedom Wednesday when the state Pardons Board granted him a conditional pardon restoring all his civil rights. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Middle: Nonpartisan voters and the 2020 election
How will the growing segment of nonpartisan or independent voters — those who have not registered with either political party, or who have left partisan politics behind — vote in 2020?
THE LATEST
Teachers union files initiative to raise Nevada’s gaming tax

An initiative to raise the top tier of the Nevada gaming tax, sponsored by the Clark County Education Association, would raise an estimated $315 million per year.