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NV Protesters Want Answers from Sen. Heller about Clean-Energy Cuts

Nevada clean-energy advocates are pressing for full funding for renewable-energy research and projects. (Morgan Goodwin/National Wildlife Federation)
Nevada clean-energy advocates are pressing for full funding for renewable-energy research and projects. (Morgan Goodwin/National Wildlife Federation)
June 2, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Protesters concerned about clean energy and climate change rallied in front of the federal building in Carson City on Thursday, calling on Sen. Dean Heller to oppose cuts to clean-energy funding in President Donald Trump's 2018 budget proposal.

The President wants to cut Nevada's share of Department of Energy funding for clean-energy research by $12 million. That could mean 70 local scientists losing their jobs, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Patricia Ackerman from Minden attended the rally and says she wants Sen. Heller to stand up for Nevada and block these cuts.

"Trump has offered a very, very 'dirty' budget, and we want to know if our Sen. Heller is going to fight for clean energy," she says. "He claims that he cares about wind, solar and geothermal, but so far he's been completely silent; he's been zip-lipped on the entire budget."

About 20 protesters marched and carried signs, demanding action to protect clean air and fully fund clean energy. The protest was organized jointly by the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club, the Nevada Conservation League and the Northern Nevada Science Alliance.

Ana Casareto, one of the organizers of the recent March for Science event in Reno, says Sen. Heller has been flip-flopping on environmental protection.

"At the town hall meeting, we asked him, 'What is going to happen with the EPA? Are you going to support us? Are you going to give us money? Are you going to stop the cut of the funding of the EPA?'" she explains. "And he said, 'Well, yes we will. We will stop it.' And then, he backtracked."

Department of Energy statistics show that Nevada has already attracted more than $6 billion in renewable-energy investment. The agency estimates a clean-energy boom could create 92,000 construction jobs in the Silver State, worth $5 billion in wages.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV