Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid told reporters he personally threatened energy company executives who were planning on building new coal-fired power plants in Nevada nearly a decade ago.
Reid, Nevada’s Democratic senior senator, told NV Energy executives he would “do everything to hurt investments in your company.” The threat apparently worked as no new coal plants have been built in Nevada since.
Here’s what Reid told reporters at a luncheon Wednesday, according to KTNV’s Jon Ralston:
But here in Nevada we don’t even have—NV Energy has not been the biggest help. We had companies come here wanting to spend money [inaudible] but they ended up pulling away [inaudible] they lost large amounts of money. [inaudible] is doing the accounting now and he’s doing a lot better now, but there’s still a lot they need to do. They announced that they—because you know, I came out there—but a number of years ago and I learned they were going to build four to five new coal fire generating plants in Nevada. Why? Because it’s pristine. Out there, nobody complains. I complained. My staff and everybody said “why are you doing that? You’re going to hurt yourself.” And maybe I did. But I won, they lost.
I called two of the companies that built plants there and I told them go ahead and do it, but I am going to do everything to hurt investments in your company. So they decided perhaps—decided to get rid of the coal plants. We don’t have a coal fire generated plant open since Reid-Gardner. And it was 40 years [inaudible]. Yesterday, they announced they announced it is going to close a year early. There’s only one coal fire plant left in Nevada and that’s on its way out too. So we’re making progress in Nevada.
Reid has talked about his efforts to keep coal plants out of Nevada, but he’s never admitted to threatening company executives.
Reid opposed NV Energy’s proposed Ely Energy Center — a $5 billion project planned in the rural town of Ely. It never got built.
Reid said in a television interview the Ely coal project “will never be built,” and two years later NV Energy canceled the project, according to Politico Magazine.
Reid’s hate for coal is balanced by his love for green energy. In 2013, Reid steered the state legislature to pass an energy bill that got NV Energy to close three coal plants and replace them with new, expensive gas and green energy plants.
NV Energy would get to raise electricity rates on state residents to pay for building new power plants, and Reid would get his way.
The Las Vegas Sun described the move as “a legislative power play reaching from D.C. to Nevada that illustrates how consummate insiders can dictate energy cost and policy for every Nevadan for the next decade.”
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