Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Play

A new Supreme Court case will focus on state legislative control of federal elections, community health centers seek protection against Big Pharma, and Oregon's estuary management plan gets an update.

Play

A shooting near Chicago leaves six dead and dozens injured, Democratic governors huddle to ensure abortion access, and officials say the "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy will be phased out in the coming weeks.

Play

From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Power Politics: Incumbent Triumphs Despite Opposition from Utility

Play

Thursday, June 16, 2022   

Nevada saw a landslide victory in its Democratic primary this week for a state lawmaker who says she was targeted by Southwest Gas and other groups for promoting climate-change legislation.

Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen, D-Henderson, won the primary with about 70% of the vote. Southwest Gas contributed $10,000 to her primary opponent, Joe Dalia, after Cohen sponsored a bill last year requiring that energy planning be aligned with the state's climate goals. The group Nevadans for Economic Opportunity (NEO) paid for mailers attacking Cohen.

"They have a lot of money that they can deploy in small races where very few voters are paying attention to the fact that they're deploying this money, so that's concerning for reformers," said Kenneth Miller, a professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas who is an expert on money in politics. "The good news is that there's not a lot of evidence that that money, when it's spent, influences voters very much."

The Retail Association of Nevada, which funds NEO, also has contributed to the Dalia campaign. Dalia had no comment. NEO and Southwest Gas also did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

While this kind of political activity isn't illegal, said Matt Kasper, deputy director of the Energy and Policy Institute, which published an investigation into this race, it undermines the democratic process.

"It's unfair when you have a 'dark money' entity do these types of actions in political races," he said. "It confuses voters, it gives them misinformation; voters aren't able to see who is always behind these types of campaigns."

Cohen said she's now bracing for further opposition as she competes in the general election.

"These are groups that endorsed Donald Trump, and then they're coming after me in a Democratic primary," she said. "I worry that this is sending a chilling message to legislators, because if the coalition against me is successful, it's basically telling legislators, 'Get in line or we'll take you out.'"

Cohen's Assembly Bill 380 ultimately failed. It would have given the Public Utilities Commission more oversight over Southwest Gas and would have required the gas company to justify any expansion of natural gas, given the state's goal of "net-zero" emissions by 2050.

Disclosure: Energy & Policy Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice, Toxics. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Coal-fired energy generation accounts for as much as 80% of air pollutants in some parts of the country. (lilifest/Adobe Stock)

Environment

Groups working to curb climate change said a Supreme Court ruling limiting the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control carbon …


Environment

Government labels on meat products that say "humane" or "raised in a stress-free environment" are meaningless, according to some animal-rights groups…

Social Issues

A new report found when high school students enroll in early college programs, it improves the chances they will go on to college after graduation…


From 2006 to 2015, more than 17,000 Pennsylvanians filed flood claims with FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program, for more than $550 million in damages. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As hurricane season kicks into full gear, Pennsylvania officials are reflecting on the impacts of Hurricane Agnes 50 years ago, and urging property …

Health and Wellness

Texas is home to one in 10 Americans of reproductive age, and mandated births due to the state's abortion ban will increase the number of maternal …

The 340B Drug Pricing Program is an outpatient drug program. (HeungSoon/Pixabay)

Social Issues

Community health centers are calling on state and federal lawmakers for added protections against drug manufactures for drastically cutting them out o…

Environment

The futures of tourism, wildlife and ranching in Mono County are now at the mercy of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power - according to …

Health and Wellness

Some New York health care facilities are getting a funding boost to help train the next generation of doctors and dentists. The U.S. Department of …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021