Gov. Sandoval Vetoes Healthcare and Renewable Energy Bills

Governor Brian Sandoval vetoed Assembly Bill 374, which would have created a Medicaid buy-in option for all Nevadans. Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II released the following statement:

“Republicans like Senator Heller and Congressman Amodei are actively sabotaging the Affordable Care Act and trying to pass a bill that increases your costs, slashes your coverage, and eliminates key health care protections. Assemblyman Sprinkle’s Nevada Care Plan was motivated by the idea that health care should be a right, and his legislation was the product of diligent work, innovative policy ideas, and bipartisan collaboration. If Governor Sandoval had signed this bill, every Nevadan would have gained the opportunity to buy an affordable plan with Medicaid-like health benefits on the insurance market. Governor Sandoval’s disappointing veto leaves Nevadans more vulnerable to the GOP’s heartless and reckless health care policies in Washington.

Governor Sandoval’s disappointing veto leaves Nevadans more vulnerable to the GOP’s heartless and reckless health care policies in Washington” — NV Dems Chair William McCurdy II

Governor Brian Sandoval also vetoed Assembly Bill 206 to set a standard of getting 40% of our energy from renewable sources by 2030 and Senate Bill 392 to expand solar energy access to more communities including low-income families. Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II released a statement relative to those vetoes as well:

“During this past legislative session, Democrats worked in a bipartisan way to revitalize Nevada’s clean energy economy, and I’m proud of everything we accomplished together in Carson City. Governor Sandoval’s vetoes represent missed opportunities for us to seize the economic opportunity of renewable energy in our communities. Community solar would have helped families who rent and low-income neighborhoods reduce their energy bills through access to solar power, and an ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard would have created tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in wages right here in Nevada. The fight will continue to build on our state’s clean energy progress and enact these common-sense policies next session.

Governor Sandoval’s vetoes represent missed opportunities for us to seize the economic opportunity of renewable energy in our communities” — NV Dems Chair William McCurdy II

Obama Takes a Walk on the Greener Side

As Nevada short-circuits its solar boom, the White House gets more committed to renewable energy.

— by

Emily Schwartz GrecoUntil now, President Barack Obama has embraced gas and oil fracking, encouraged the construction of new nuclear reactors, and hailed government investment in wind and solar power. In keeping with this “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, he’d call for climate action one minute and sign off on measures destined to boost carbon pollution the next.

Suddenly, it looks like Obama may have ditched his inherently contradictory approach.

“We’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy,” he asserted during his final State of the Union address. “I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

Barack-Obama-solar-panel-green-energy
Wikipedia

Just three days later, the Obama administration moved in that direction by declaring a three-year moratorium on new leases to mine coal from federal land.

Obama’s speech also cast switching to renewable energy and phasing out fossil fuels in a business-friendly light.

“We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy —  something environmentalists and tea partiers have teamed up to support,” he said. There’s plenty going on at a larger scale too. Wind and solar energy are generating more than half of the new power that came online last year.

The Republican Party’s obsession with “job creators” should make it a fan of green energy. Nearly 210,000 Americans now work for the solar industry, and some 73,000 are employed in the wind business. Renewable power forged at least 79,000 new jobs between 2008 and 2012 as 50,000 coal jobs vanished.

But the fossil fuel industries and their political allies won’t surrender without a fight. As Obama put it: “There are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo.”

To see what he meant, check out what’s up in Nevada.

Right before Christmas, the state’s electric-sector regulators short-circuited policies that rewarded homeowners for investing in their own solar panels. Nevadans may end up paying for the privilege of generating their own electricity while simultaneously padding the profit margins of NV Energy, rather than getting compensated for it.

The Nevada Public Utility Commission, whose three members were all appointed by Republican governor Brian Sandoval, effectively killed demand for rooftop solar power and the jobs that diversifying industry would have created in Nevada—overnight. The new policies also punish consumers who previously bought or leased panels.

This about face prompted companies like SolarCity, Vivint, and Sunrun to shutter their operations in the state. SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive is calling this move an act of “sabotage,” and two Las Vegas residents have already filed a class action lawsuit.

Along with rigging the rules, fossil fuel lobbyists are trying to extract new political favors. The coal industry, for example, wants new government handouts from West Virginia’s cash-strapped government. And, there are rumblings about a federal bailout for Big Oil.

This money ought to support and ramp up the green transition, not delay it. That’s what Obama meant when he asserted: “Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future.”

And although polls have shown that government efforts to expand solar and wind power enjoy bipartisan support, GOP presidential contenders and many Republican leaders dismiss these increasingly competitive industries.

“Why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?” asked Obama, raising an excellent question. “The jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, and the planet we’ll preserve  —  that’s the kind of future our kids and grandkids deserve.”

Indeed. Supposedly pro-business politicians who are out to kill the green energy boom make no sense. Neither does an all-of-the-above energy strategy.


Columnist Emily Schwartz Greco is the managing editor of OtherWords, a non-profit national editorial service run by the Institute for Policy Studies. OtherWords.org.