Senate Growth and Infrastructure Committee passes Nevada carbon reduction bill

by Roger Moellendorf and Brian Bahouth

Silver State Solar Power plant South, near to Primm, Nevada - image - Basin and Range Watch

Carson City – Today, with three amendments, SB254 passed from the Senate Committee on Growth and Infrastructure on a party-line vote, 4-3.

SB254 is a bill that would establish a framework for greenhouse gas reductions in Nevada. Under current law, every four years, the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural  Resources (NDCNR) must issue a statewide inventory of greenhouse gases released in the state, along with their analysis of that information.

SB254 as amended would require the NDCNR to submit an annual report that includes a statewide inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and a projection of annual emissions for the 20 years beyond the date of the report.

For more detail on SB254, see our report that includes an audio catalog of testimony from when the bill was presented to joint meeting of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Growth and Infrastructure on March 12.

In comments offered before the vote today, Senator Joseph Hardy, a Republican from Boulder City said he has several concerns with the bill.

“I have some concern about the fiscal issues,” Hardy said. “That concept of cap-and-trade, that probably is an issue that I haven’t figured out, and the executive functions being used that may be beyond our allowance to use. Nebulous and so I’ll be voting no. It doesn’t mean I am against trying to fix the atmosphere.”

SB254 has fiscal notes from the  Public Utilities Commission of Nevada, the  Department of Transportation, the  Governor’s Office of Energy,  Department of Motor Vehicles, Compliance Enforcement Division – Pollution Control, State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Division of Environmental Protection.

Las Vegas Republican Scot Hammond echoed the concerns of Mr. Hardy regarding cap-and-trade but with a kernel of hope to possibly support the measure.

“I think I’m in the same boat Senator Hardy is in. At this point, I think I’ll probably vote against the bill but with a hope that as things are worked out, I understand there might be some discussion later on, that I can change my vote on the floor as well.”

Before casting a no vote, Douglas County Republican James Settelmeyer added a colorful comment for the record.

“I had talked to the bill sponsor earlier today about it. First I’ll disclose I am a cattle rancher and I have cows that fart and I have some problems with the bill and will be opposing it,” Settelmeyer said to laughter.

Las Vegas Democrat and noted renewable energy advocate Senator Chris Brooks presented SB254 to a joint meeting of the Senate Committee on Growth and Infrastructure and Assembly Committee on Growth and Infrastructure on March 12, 2019 and at that time said he could not overemphasize the threat posed by a changing climate.

“Climate change, in the form of increasing average global temperatures is one of the greatest challenges we are facing as a state, a nation, and as a planet today,” Senator Brooks said.  “There is overwhelming scientific consensus that human caused greenhouse gas emissions are driving this phenomenon, and Nevada’s public health, economy, wild lands and overall well-being are facing the consequences.”