Legislators prioritized public and environmental health amid intersecting crises
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — The Nevada Conservation League today publicly released its Conservation Scorecard, evaluating Governor Sisolak and state legislators on environmental bills regarding climate change, energy, public lands, environmental justice, wildlife, and democracy during the 81st legislative session. The Scorecard shows state leaders put public and environmental health at the forefront amid intersecting COVID-19 and climate crises.
Governor Sisolak received an A for his overall grade, considering his administration’s personnel decisions, leadership in carrying out the Nevada Climate Initiative, executive action to conserve the sagebrush ecosystems, pro-conservation appointments, and support for every pro-conservation bill that came across his desk.
“Since 2003, the Nevada Conservation League has been helping Nevadans see how well their decision-makers protect our climate, air, water, land, and communities. While this legislative session was dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, our leaders continued to put public and environmental health at the forefront of their work, and today, we can celebrate many of these climate and environmental victories,” said Nevada Conservation League Executive Director Paul Selberg. “However, Nevada still continues to face threats to our bedrock environmental laws from the fossil fuel industry and anti-conservation politicians. We have seen this happen in other states, and it will take vigilance from everyone that cares about our state to make sure that it doesn’t happen here. That’s why we are dedicated to our work to help elect leaders who understand and share our conservation priorities so that we can secure a healthier future for our people, environment, and economy.”
Highlights from the Scorecard include:
- 32 out of 63 legislators (10 Senators and 22 Assembly members) received a perfect score of 100%
- The Senate received an average score of 79% and the Assembly received 69%
- Democratic leadership in the Senate and Assembly (Senate Majority Leader Cannizzaro, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Ratti, Speaker Frierson, and Assembly Majority Leader Benitez-Thompson) received a score of 100%
- Chairs of key committees received a 94% or higher
The Scorecard graded lawmakers on critical conservation priorities identified by the Nevada Conservation League. Legislators were scored on 17 bills that advanced this session, ranging from legislation to reduce smog pollution to requiring developers to consider wildlife in development plans to strengthening Nevada’s electricity transmission network to water conservation.
The Scorecard spotlights particular legislation brought this session surrounding methane ‘natural’ gas in Nevada. The measure intended to require gas utilities to demonstrate future spending on the gas system is the best option available for ratepayers. While the bill did not advance, conversation on the future of methane gas and work toward the use of local, clean electricity will continue.
“Understanding how our elected representatives voted on major environmental decisions is key to a functioning democracy,” said Nevada Conservation League Policy and Advocacy Director Christi Cabera. “We are proud to share the 2021 Conservation Scorecard, a project of the Nevada Conservation League, which tells a story of how our state leaders leveraged their power to address the COVID-19 health crisis while also laying the groundwork for a more just, equitable, and sustainable future. While we celebrate the leadership and progress made to better protect our environment, we must also continue to hold our elected leaders accountable to their conservation promises and encourage the prioritization of our health and environment for generations to come.”
The Scorecard represents a yardstick for evaluating the environmental records of state leaders. Nevadans are encouraged to view the Scorecard to better understand the decisions our elected representatives are making at the state level that directly affect our families, communities, and everyday life.
The Conservation Scorecard was first released at the Home Means Nevada Awards Dinner, which took place on Tuesday evening, November 9. The organization’s annual fundraising gala celebrates legislative progress for our environment and recognizes exceptional community leaders who worked toward a better climate future for Nevada. The award winners also joined keynote speaker Senator Cortez Masto and other conservation leaders taking the stage. More information about the event can be found here.