78°F
weather icon Clear

Sierra Club, other groups oppose Nevada energy measure

Updated July 26, 2018 - 5:40 pm

CARSON CITY — Four major clean energy advocacy groups announced Thursday that they oppose Question 3, the ballot initiative that would break up NV Energy’s monopoly and create an open energy market in Nevada.

The Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project and Western Resource Advocates each cited concerns over market uncertainty, and what that could do to renewable energy projects underway in the state, saying the measure could “disrupt the state’s progress toward a clean energy future.”

“If Question 3 passes, it will upend the clean energy progress we’re making here in Nevada. Right now, NV Energy has big plans for new solar infrastructure, and the rooftop solar market is quickly recovering, but that may all change,” said Anne Macquarie, chair of Sierra Club’s Toiyabe chapter. “The uncertainty of a deregulated market threatens all of Nevada’s clean energy momentum, and that’s bad for jobs, it’s bad for public health, and it’s bad for clean air and water.”

The Sierra Club and NV Energy, which also opposes Question 3 and is the key funding source for the effort to defeat it, have not seen eye to eye on energy issues in the past.

The Sierra Club sued the energy supplier in 2013 over waste from a coal-fired plant, and the group has pushed for NV Energy to close its last remaining coal plant before the scheduled shuttering in 2025.

Scott Rutledge, spokesman for the Yes on 3 campaign, noted that past conflict in a statement Thursday, and rebutted the pro-renewable group’s assertions that clean energy could be dealt a blow under Question 3.

“When I was the executive director of the Nevada Conservation League, our environmental community fought NV Energy for years to expand clean energy and shut down their coal-fired power plants. And this is the same monopoly utility that eliminated rooftop solar a couple of years ago. Energy Choice will lower Nevadans’ power bills through competition and vastly expand Nevada’s renewable energy resources.”

Tracy Skenadore, spokeswoman for the No on 3 campaign, said the opposition from the clean energy groups shows that they recognize the impact the passage of Question 3 would have on renewable energy in the state.

“Nevada’s clean energy advocates recognize that Question 3 would be damaging to Nevada’s rooftop solar programs, cancel plans to double clean energy production in the state, and be a setback for existing state laws and policies designed to spur growth in our renewable energy sectors,” she said.

Robert Johnston, senior staff attorney for Western Resource Advocates in Nevada, said that since NV Energy has “changed course” on renewable energy and plans to double solar generation by 2023, taking them out of the power-generating equation would create “a cloud of legal and regulatory uncertainty that could chill the development of new renewable projects by anyone else over the next 4-5 years.”

Question 3, commonly called the Energy Choice Initiative, is a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would break up NV Energy’s monopoly on Nevada’s energy market and replace it with an open market where consumers could choose their own energy suppliers. The measure passed with 72 percent of the vote in 2016, but as a constitutional amendment it needs to be approved by voters twice before being enshrined in the state’s constitution.

The initiative is funded by Las Vegas Sands and Las Vegas data and technology company Switch, and has drawn support from several local businesses as well as former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid.

Groups and officials opposing the measure include NV Energy, Democratic Nevada U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, numerous local small business associations like the Latin Chamber of Commerce and AARP.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

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

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Bernie Sanders Unveils Affordable Housing Plan - Video
Bernie Sanders sits down with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to talk about his new affordable housing plan he unveiled at Plumbers & Pipefitters.
Jim Marchant talks gun control and Dreamers - Video
Republican Candidate for District 4 Jim Marchant talks about gun control and immigration policies. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Hurricanes, Gender, and Science in the Press
Imagine if the mainstream media’s current hurricane-sized obsession with scientific accuracy applied to gender.
Cory Booker on college tuition and minimum wage
Cory Booker talks on the RJ Politics podcast about college debt, informing workers about their rights and livable wages.
Nevada Politics Today: Teacher raises - VIDEO
Jason Goudie, the chief financial officer for the Clark County School District, talks about teacher pay and raises. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST