This is a press release submitted to the Las Vegas Sun. It has not been verified or edited by the Sun.
Nevada's Public Power Meets in Carson City
Published on Thu, May 1, 2014 (9:53 a.m.)The 2014 Nevada Rural Electric Association (NREA) Legislative Conference brought two Municipals and four of Nevada's seven electric cooperative utility members together on April 24 in Carson City. The conference was designed to advance a statewide effort toward understanding important political issues affecting their rural electric utility members. General Mangers and Board members heard a presentation by Tim Crowley, President of the Nevada Mining Association, seeking an industrial partnership with NREA utility members to work together to effectively influence and shape Nevada's energy policy.
Allen Biaggi, principle of a natural resource consulting firm based in Minden, Nevada, A. Biaggi & Associates, discussed and made recommendations to conference attendees about various ways NREA member utilities can deal effectively with federal regulations related to preserving the Sagebrush Ecosystem and the Greater Sage Grouse habitat in Nevada.
Samuel Crampton, District Director for United States Senator Dean Heller, discussed how Senator Heller is working with other members of our Congressional delegation and state leaders to resolve issues with permitting delays, agency actions which may not be supported by existing law and how the draft Sage Grouse legislation might be amended to create a plan that would best serve all Nevadans. Crampton felt that the best hope for a workable solution would be for the plan being developed by the Governor’s Sagebrush Ecosystem Council to qualify for a Section 4.d. exemption so that federal intervention would not be necessary.
The Nevada Legislature will convene on February 2, 2015 and Assemblyman James Oscarson shared his thoughts on how term limits are affecting the development of legislation. He also shared his insights into campaign finance reform, energy legislation, land management issues, transmission line permitting and the possible Sage Grouse endangered species listing.
Senator Harry Reid was represented by Ryan Mulvenon, Energy Policy Advisor, and Sara Moffat, Legislative Assistant. Senator Reid is concerned about both cyber and physical security of the nation’s electrical grid. Legislation may be enacted requiring either the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or the Department of Homeland Security to develop standards. NREA expressed its desire to maintain reliability within the bounds of affordability.
Senator Reid was instrumental in removing the Wilderness Study Area designation from the Sunrise Mountain Instant Study Area. The study area encompassed a very narrow geographic area where the terrain could accommodate transmission lines to provide much needed capacity.
Nevada Association of Counties (NACO) Deputy Director Dagny Stapleton discussed how NACO and NREA might work collaboratively since legislation and regulation affecting the counties will eventually affect public power.
The conference is just one example of how public power utilities come together to achieve common goals.