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Earth Day: NV Tribes Walk Against Pollution & For Solar Future

PHOTO: Moapa Paiutes advocate for clean energy. Photo credit: Jane Feldman
PHOTO: Moapa Paiutes advocate for clean energy. Photo credit: Jane Feldman
April 19, 2013

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – This year's Earth Day Walk will focus on transition, and the move that is under way from older fossil fuel-based energy to newer clean energy.

Vickie Simmons is an air quality technician with the Moapa Band of Paiutes. She says coal-fired power plants, like the nearby Reid Gardner plant, energized her to make her first Earth Day walk. Now, there are multiple reasons she will make the 16-mile weekend trek.

"At one end we fight against pollution and at the other end, we're going to be the first tribe in the nation to have a utilities-size solar plant," she says.

There are several Nevada walks this weekend. The first kicks off at sunrise on Saturday at the Moapa Community Tribal Council building.

Simmons lost a younger brother to what she calls "coal-related medical issues," and she believes other tribes need to hold their leaders accountable on pollution.

"I know there are other Indian people, the Navajo people, their government won't stand behind them because they make money off the coal,” she says. “What we're doing is trying to move from dirty coal to clean energy."

Simmons credits the Sierra Club and other nonprofit organizations with helping Native Americans in Nevada bring attention to the need to shift to clean energy.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NV