Angelyn Tabalba

Climate Crisis is Impacting Nevada — How Can We Build Back Better?

Climate change events are becoming more frequent and severe, and Nevadans are paying the price. We need federal action to help meet this climate moment and protect our communities.

Nevada is home to two of the fastest-warming cities in the country – Reno & Las Vegas – hitting record-breaking temperatures year after year. For the first time in history, the federal government declared a water shortage at Lake Mead, Nevada’s largest water supply. Today, more than 1.2 million Nevadans, or 45% of the state’s population, are living in areas at elevated risk of wildfires.

Extreme weather events, from excessive heat to droughts to wildfires are threatening communities across the state and ringing alarm bells for bold and immediate climate action. 

The Nevada Conservation League has been calling for bold and immediate action to protect our environment and our environment and our communities. In his first year, the President laid out his bold climate agenda in the Build Back Better Act. This bill would make critical investments in a clean energy future to create millions of family-supporting clean energy jobs, build resilient communities, and reduce the pollution that is fueling climate disasters and public health crises. 

Nevadans know the serious threat of the climate crisis because they consistently live it, and they are looking to their leaders to take action. Recent polling shows 60% of Nevada voters support the bold clean energy investments included in the Build Back Better Act and 61% of voters believe that climate policies should be a priority for Congress this year. 

Here is a rundown of real benefits Nevadans can expect from these investments:

Clean cars and busses: 

The transportation sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions in Nevada and a main source of dangerous air pollution. The Build Back Better Act would help the transition to clean transportation to reduce dependence on dirty fossil fuels like oil, coal, and natural gas. The bill would convert thousands of diesel-powered school buses to clean electric buses so our children can breathe clean air. It would cut the price of an electric vehicle by $12,500 for hardworking families and expand electric vehicle charging stations to all communities. Additionally, it would convert US Postal Service mail trucks to clean electric vehicles to reduce air pollution in neighborhoods. 

Lowering energy costs: 

In Nevada, the average low-income family spends about 6-8% of their income on energy costs, forcing tough choices between energy bills and buying food or medicine. With federal investments in energy efficiency and electric infrastructure, the average family will save about $500 each year in utility bills. It would also reduce the costs of installing solar panels on your rooftop by an average of $7,000.  

New jobs at home: 

As of 2019, nearly 34,000 Nevadans worked in our state’s clean energy economy. Investments in the manufacturing of electric vehicles, wind turbines, solar panels, and other clean energy goods will create thousands of local, family-sustaining jobs throughout Nevada. The Build Back Better Act will also create an estimated 300,000 nationwide jobs through the creation of a new Civilian Climate Corp, designed to help communities clean up pollution and adapt to climate change.

Protecting our water supply:

Nevada is the driest state in the nation, making our water that much more valuable. Additionally, in 2021, Nevada experienced its more severe drought in the last two decades. While climate change and drought continue to threaten our water supply, we must plan for and invest in water-saving solutions to ensure we can meet the needs of Nevada’s growing population.  

The Build Back Better Act makes critical investments in water recycling projects, investing $100 million to expand access to water recycling tools and resources nationwide. This would support and help develop new opportunities for communities facing the challenges of drought to sustain water levels. 

The Build Back Better Act takes action to support more affordable, resilient water services, with $1.77 billion for energy and water conservation and air quality improvements in affordable housing and $550 million for the Bureau of Reclamation to construct drinking water projects targeted to communities without reliable water. 

Environmental justice: 

The bill prioritizes equitable and just solutions for the communities most hurt by toxic pollution — specifically low-income families and communities of color — and ensures that at least 40% of benefits go to communities most in need.  The Build Back Better Act would support community-led efforts to clean up toxic pollution, build communities that are more resilient to climate change, and create a healthier standard of living for neighborhoods that have suffered from the effects of environmental injustice. 

Nevada is on the frontline of the climate crisis. Ambitious, bold, and aggressive climate action — like the Build Back Better Act — will lower energy costs, create new jobs at home, expand our clean energy economy, clean up toxic pollution, and ensure a healthier future. 

The Build Back Better Act lays out a plan that responds to Nevadans’ demands for climate action and will serve as the groundwork for more climate action from our local and state leaders. 

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