Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008 | 4:39 p.m.
WASHINGTON -- Running headlong into potentially tricky political terrain, Sen. Harry Reid will speak on energy issues during the third night of the Democratic convention in Denver.
Reid has emerged as either a hero or fool on energy policy, depending on which side you ask.
Environmentalists adore Reid for championing renewable energy and taking a no-new-coal-plants stand in Nevada. They chuckled and cheered over his “coal makes us sick” line earlier this year. They attest to his power in stalling Yucca Mountain, the nuclear waste dump planned for Nevada.
But among those who doubt renewable energy is capable of keeping the lights on in Las Vegas, Reid has opened himself to criticism. They mock his anti-coal comment. They warn he is leaving the country dangerously short of energy options.
As majority leader, Reid will be able to give Nevada a prominence on the national stage the small state could only dream of during conventions past.
Reid will speak on Wednesday, the same day as former President Bill Clinton, and others. The Aug. 27 talk will come one week after he hosts Clinton and other national leaders at a renewable energy summit in Las Vegas.
The release from the Democrats says Reid “will discuss Barack Obama’s plans to make America more secure by investing in smart energy policies.”
“One of the greatest security challenges facing the country today is reducing our dependence on oil, especially from foreign sources.”
Reid will surely be speaking to the choir at the convention. But his comments will be closely watched by those not singing along.