LAS VEGAS — Today, Governor Joe Lombardo issued an executive order establishing his administration’s energy policy objectives just as advocates commence Conservation Lobby Day at the Nevada Legislature. While supporting Nevada’s progress in creating clean energy economy jobs and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the proposal’s emphasis on methane, aka “natural,” gas systems would ultimately mark a step back from those goals. It would also prove to be costly by creating expensive new projects that enrich utilities like Southwest Gas and NV Energy while driving up costs for Nevada families.
Nevadans are already struggling to pay their energy bills right now. By both utilities’ admission, high methane gas prices are largely to blame for record-high electric and gas utility bills. By signaling support for new gas projects, the executive order would keep customers exposed to unpredictable utility bills and lead to even more rate hikes. Nevadans deserve programs that reduce energy demand and drive down our bills – not tie us to costly fossil fuels for decades to come.
Most of the state’s energy currently comes from gas, so clean energy should be the focus to balance our energy resources. And to achieve the order’s goal of energy independence, Nevada must move away from methane gas, which has to be imported into the state through hundreds of miles of pipelines. By investing in homegrown clean energy resources like solar and geothermal, along with energy efficiency, Nevada can achieve affordable and stable energy prices while supporting good-paying local jobs.
“Nevada has steadily made progress in reducing climate pollution and developing a local clean energy economy,” said Christi Cabrera-Georgeson, deputy director for Nevada Conservation League. “Governor Lombardo should lean in on these efforts and not hold Nevada back by relying on expensive out-of-state fossil fuels.”
“The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just warned us that the planet will reach dangerous levels of warming by the early 2030s. To avoid this, we must immediately reduce fossil fuel use, including methane gas. This executive order’s support for gas is the wrong direction for Nevada,” said Angelyn Tabalba, communications director for Nevada Conservation League. “The timing of today’s executive order is particularly disappointing and demonstrates that our state is not fully committed to reducing climate pollution and transitioning to a clean energy economy. Furthermore, this decision undermines the voices of Nevada’s environmental community, who have long advocated for a transition to clean energy.”