Energy

NV Republican Governor Goes Against Party On Obama’s Clean Power Plan

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The Republican Nevada governor’s energy task force is having its first meeting Tuesday, a move seemingly counter to clarion calls by GOP leaders urging sates not comply with new overarching environmental regulations.

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s “New Energy Industry Task Force” is perceived by supporters as a measure meant to add leadership to renewable energy issues, particularly as it pertains to the Environmental Protection Agency’s so-called Clean Power Plan.

“Nevada was already well on the road to compliance with proposed federal regulations concerning carbon emission rate reductions,” Sandoval said in a February press statement about the U.S Supreme Court’s decision to halt the CPP.

Sandoval’s statement continued: “This task force will work with the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and other stakeholders to determine the best path forward for our state, a uniquely Nevadan solution that balances energy efficiency, economic development and environmental stewardship.”

Nevada joined the ranks in February of states suing the EPA over the CPP, a plan that requires each state slash its carbon emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, even as Sandoval’s task force takes measures to tacitly comply.

“First, EPA’s unprecedented regulations harm energy consumers in other states, thus threatening harm to the overall national economy and in turn to Nevada’s vital tourism industry,” the state’s Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt wrote Tuesday in a brief filed with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Laxalt was walking in lockstep with calls issued by the GOP, and in particular those issued by Senate Majority Leader [crscore]Mitch McConnell[/crscore], a Kentucky Republican.

McConnell pitched letters to state governors across the U.S. Monday, requesting they ignore calls by the Environmental Protection Agency to comply with its new carbon dioxide emission standards.

“The administration was evidently hoping that states would be so far down the road in developing their compliance plans that they would be committed to those plans before the legal issues surrounding the [Clean Power Plan] could be resolved,” McConnell said in a press briefing Monday.

“It is the same strategy this administration followed with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards,” McConnell’s statement read. “While the Supreme Court ultimately struck down the MATS regulation, the damage had already been done; states, citizens and businesses had already faced irreparable harm.”

Undaunted, Sandoval continues to push the merits of the task force.

The New Energy Task Force will offer advice to Sandoval’s Office of Energy on ways the state can administer renewable energy tools such as solar and wind power. It also seeks to make such sources more affordable across the board for Nevadans.

“Not only does this sector drive many economic development opportunities, but it also helps us improve the quality of life for many Nevadans by helping keep our air clean, water fresh, and allows us to explore our unlimited potential in the wealth of renewables Nevada has to offer,” Sandoval noted in the statement.

The Task Force will issue its renewable recommendations by 2017.

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