Friday, Jan. 25, 2008 | 12:45 p.m.
Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid is condemning ad campaigns promoting coal-fired power, saying Nevada’s largest utility should face facts that the world will increasingly rely on renewable energy in the future.
"The coal industry has already started a campaign of disinformation in Nevada,” Reid said during a conference call Thursday with reporters. He was referring to an ad campaign by Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, a coal lobby group, promoting the use of the fuel in Nevada. “There is no clean coal. There's cleaner coal but there is no clean coal."
Reid said residents of White Pine County, where Sierra Pacific Resources plans to build a large, coal-fired power plant, shouldn’t allow the utility to pollute its air for the sake of cheap power for Las Vegas. The county’s Great Basin National Park, located mere miles from the site of the proposed coal-fired power plant, has the cleanest air of any park in the continental United States.
Sierra Pacific Resources owns Sierra Pacific Power Co. in the north and Nevada Power Co. in the south. Most of the power from the proposed Ely Energy Center, a $3.8 billion project, would be shipped 250 miles to Las Vegas.
Reid said White Pine County should instead court renewable energy developers, like concentrated solar company Ausra.
"It would create just as many jobs as would the coal-fired plant… and it would set the tone for what Nevada should be,” Reid said. "The people of White Pine County, I'm stunned that they are willing to give up their clean air to ship electricity to Las Vegas."