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Trump’s Secretary of State nominee gets a narrow thumbs up, but his Veteran’s Affairs nominee is put on hold. Also on our rundown: Protests against Wells Fargo set for Des Moines today; and cannabis advocates blame Florida officials for “reefer madness.”

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NV Conservation Groups Criticize Trump’s Cabinet Choices

Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, is Donald Trump's nominee to become U.S. Secretary of State, a pick that's raising concerns in Nevada's conservation community. (Wikimedia Commons)
Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, is Donald Trump's nominee to become U.S. Secretary of State, a pick that's raising concerns in Nevada's conservation community. (Wikimedia Commons)
December 14, 2016

CARSON CITY, Nev. – President-elect Trump's picks for Secretary of State and Energy Secretary are seen as alarming by leaders in Nevada's conservation community.

Trump will nominate Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, one of the world's largest oil companies, as Secretary of State. And he has chosen former Texas Governor Rick Perry, a climate change skeptic, to run the Department of Energy,an agency Perry famously said he wants to eliminate.

Andy Maggi, executive director of the Nevada Conservation League, said he fears these choices will lead the country in the wrong direction.

"The track record of both appointees is one of strong support for fossil fuels," he said. "As a country, we're at a place where we need to be ramping up generation of clean energy, creating those jobs, building the economy around clean energy and moving away from traditional fossil fuels."

Nevada has almost no fossil-fuel reserves. But according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the state is second in the country for utility-scale solar generation, and third in the nation for tapping geothermal energy.

Trump has said he selected Tillerson in part for his experience with international business dealings. But David von Seggern, who chairs the Sierra Club's Toiyabe Chapter in Nevada, said the president-elect's choice of leadership shows, as he put it, "complete disregard" for America's leading role in the fight against climate change.

"It appears that he's trying to throw up a defensive wall around the fossil-fuel industry and that's unfortunate, because they are the prime cause of the global warming threat," he said.

Von Seggern pointed to the boom in clean energy that has become a large part of Nevada's economy. The Governor's Office of Energy said since 2009, tax credits have led to 30 renewable power plants and four-thousand jobs, with $6.5 billion in economic benefit to the state.

Suzanne Potter/Shaine Smith, Public News Service - NV