Reid wants it both ways on states’ rights

To the editor:

Projects to bring wind, solar and geothermal power from remote areas to big cities would require modernizing the country’s electrical transmission system. The decisions regarding where to place power lines and poles have traditionally been left to state and local authorities.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada supports legislation that would grant the federal government what amounts to eminent domain authority in establishing corridors for the transmission lines.

Frederick Butler, chairman of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, a Washington-based group that represents state regulators, said the group opposes moving jurisdiction over the planning and siting of transmission lines to the federal level.

Sen. Reid now believes the federal government should be given the power to trump the authority of the states.

Like when the Senate passed and the House combined to vote 306-117 to approve the site at Yucca Mountain for the development of a nuclear waste repository over the objections of many Nevada residents — including Harry Reid himself?

Sen. Reid, your hypocrisy astounds me.

Steve Michaelson


Not ‘green’ jobs

To the editor:

I ran both commercial and residential energy auditing programs in the Midwest in the early 1980s. Unlike Southern Nevada, this part of the country had very old housing stock and was in dire need of weatherization.

As described in Saturday’s Review-Journal report, “Horsford eyes alternative energy stimulus funds,” the portion of state Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford’s plan to train 3,200 Nevadans to conduct weatherization projects at a cost of $3,500 each is asinine. You can train someone to do this in a week.

As for training people today in “renewable energy work,” this is not practical, nor is it cost-effective. Homeowners who need significant weatherization work will not benefit from renewable energy. The residential cost benefits from renewable energy, like solar energy systems, still have a long way to go. Some day they will get there, but not now.

Residential weatherization is usually a one-time event. The first step in weatherization is to conduct a home energy audit and cost-benefit analysis looking for a payback of five years or less. This would be done on site manually, or via computer simulation, and would take less than one hour to perform.

Weatherization is a simple task and always begins with either suggesting or installing an inexpensive setback thermostat, weather-stripping and air duct sealing, then usually ends, if economically justifiable, with window and/or insulation upgrades. The cost of these more expensive upgrades can sometimes be offset by their energy savings, and in some situations financed via a public utility.

I don’t envision those trained to do weatherization replacing existing contractors who install windows or alternative energy systems. This is best left up to professionals. If desired, these trainees can do simple tasks like installing thermostats, weather-stripping, air duct sealing or adding new insulation.

Spending less than $1,000 for training and more on the actual weatherization makes cents to me.

Richard Rychtarik


No proof

To the editor:

In Las Vegas Sun Editor Brian Greenspun’s Sunday column, he accused those promoting the Yucca Mountain Project of “threatening countless thousands of Nevadans, their kids and those not yet born.”

It is fortunate that Mr. Greenspun is a newsman rather than a prosecuting attorney. Sometimes picky juries ask for proof, rather than unsubstantiated allegations.

It is unfortunate that Mr. Greenspun thinks so little of his readers that he believes the majority will settle for mere assumed catastrophes.

Ralph Nader and Jane Fonda warned the nation for 40 years that nuclear power plants would blow up and destroy the country. Perhaps Mr. Greenspun should consult with Mr. Nader and Ms. Fonda on the necessity of proof.

Dan Kane


Did Reid read the bill?

To the editor:

We in the state of Nevada have the distinct honor of having a senator, Harry Reid, who serves as majority leader. President Obama’s stimulus bill was rushed to print the evening of Feb. 13 by Sen. Reid.

The next morning, on Feb. 14, cheerfully disregarding the agreed-upon procedure to allow fellow Democrats and Republicans a 48-hour courtesy to peruse said bill, Sen. Reid demanded an immediate vote.

Not one congressional Republican read this 1,071-page bill. Not one congressional Democrat read this 1,071-page bill, and the president didn’t read this 1,071-page bill. Yet all congressional Democrats and three Republicans voted for it. And the president? He signed it into law — unread, of course.

Here’s what Nevada got out of this $800 billion: A big, whopping $1.5 billion. A mere pittance compared to other states, both in total dollars and per capita share.

Thank you for watching out for us, Sen. Reid.

Norman Yeager


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