Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015 | 2 a.m.
Nevadans have always been fiercely independent, but the out-of-state oil and tar sand billionaires Charles and David Koch are trying to buy Nevada’s future.
The Koch brothers have promised to spend $900 million to influence the 2016 election cycle and support presidential candidates who have sold their political souls to advance the Koch brothers’ radical agenda. But the Koch brothers aren’t satisfied with simply buying federal government officials. They now want to dictate Nevada’s energy policy, as detailed in a recent article in the Las Vegas Sun (“Conservative think tank attacks NV Energy plan to build new power plant,” Oct. 6).
The Koch brothers’ decision to spend their vast fortune forcing their extreme agenda into local issues should concern every Nevadan. The Silver State should control its own future. The Koch brothers are only interested in policies that make the middle class poorer, damage the environment and shut down investments in clean, renewable energy — and help them make more money with their chemical, tar sands, oil and coal businesses.
This isn’t the first time the Koch brothers have tried to buy Nevada. They’ve used their deep pockets and shadowy organizations to try to upend the state’s open primary process. They tried to dissuade young Nevadans to stay out of the state’s health exchanges. They’ve fought attempts to raise Nevada’s cigarette tax and used the Legislature to undermine labor unions. The Koch brothers are committed to turning the Silver State into a safe haven for their own corporate interests at the expense of all Nevadans.
And Nevada isn’t the only state being targeted. The Koch brothers have dumped filthy oil and tar sands money into local issues throughout the country. In Colorado Springs, Colo., they attacked a Republican mayor for trying to raise the sales tax to fix potholes and improve roads. In Nashville, Tenn., they battled to stop a mass-transit plan. In Ohio, they fought the Columbus Zoo to save one of their nearby plants from paying its fair share of taxes. And that’s not mentioning the list of states where Koch-backed groups have aggressively fought local incentives for renewable energy that compete with the Kochs’ fossil fuel empire.
Nevadans and people throughout the country must see through this shameful attempt to subvert our democratic process. It’s time we let these power-hungry billionaires know that Nevada, the country and the future of our environment are not for sale.
Harry Reid is a U.S. senator representing Nevada.