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Nevada Greens: A "False Choice" on Energy & Immigration

April 28, 2010

LAS VEGAS - With the U.S. Senate tied up in knots over which big debate comes first - immigration or climate change - some in Nevada say Washington, D.C., needs to get into gear and deal with both issues.

Dan Geary, Nevada representative for The Pew Environment Group, points out that millions of jobs are at stake nationwide, including plenty in Nevada. He says the state is too rich in renewable energy to allow the nation's lawmakers to sidestep the issue of climate change. Nevada has more than 300 days of sunshine, prompting some to dub it the "Saudi Arabia of solar energy." This week, Geary says, a record number of people applied for rebates to develop solar energy systems in the state.

"We've always believed here in Nevada that the new, clean energy economy is going to begin in the Southwest and, simply put, special interests have kept us dependent on foreign oil and protecting corporations that pollute. It's time for that period of our history to end."

While some Republican leaders are angry that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is considering prioritizing the legislation to overhaul immigration laws, Geary insists it doesn't have to be an either/or situation.

"Both immigration and climate and energy security are very important issues; the fact here is that we simply can't allow one of the issues to be used as a roadblock for the other."

A key Republican sponsor of the climate bill, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, withdrew his support for it after learning that Senate Democrats planned to delay it in favor of moving immigration reform up on the calendar. The U.S. House passed sweeping climate and energy legislation last summer.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV