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Nevadans Seek New Direction from New President on Energy

January 23, 2009

Las Vegas, NV – Nevada has a new solar energy plant, and this week, the nation's new president is being urged by environmental groups to keep the nation moving toward a cleaner and safer energy future. The state's newest solar generated power plant near Boulder City went online Thursday, but Nevada still has several coal-fired power plants on the drawing board.

Dan Geary, the Nevada representative of the Pew Environment Group, says that's why President Obama needs to tell the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) it needs to get involved in the planning process for the proposed plants.

"First off, the administration needs to insist that the EPA start regulating greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon, as a pollutant. That's going to have an impact on energy policy here in the state."

Under the Bush administration, the EPA contended it was not required to regulate greenhouse gases, but the Supreme Court has ruled that it should. In addition to declaring global warming emissions a danger to human health, the Pew Environment Group is also calling on Obama to instruct the EPA to mandate higher fuel emission standards for vehicles and government buildings.

While President Obama has said converting the nation to a clean energy economy will grow jobs, Geary says Nevada is prime soil for that job growth.

"Moving forward with a very strong commitment to clean energy development, Nevada is in a very real sense the Saudi Arabia of solar energy. We also have enormous geothermal resources."

The House is to vote on Obama's economic recovery package, which includes several key clean energy measures, sometime next week. Governor Jim Gibbons was on hand as they threw the switch on Sempra Energy's new El Dorado Energy Solar facility. It is the largest thin-film solar power facility in North America.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV