Las Vegas Sun

December 12, 2018

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GUEST COLUMN:

Let’s clear the air on Question 6

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Steve Marcus

A view of a tracking system at the SunPower Boulder Solar 1 Facility in Boulder City Tuesday, April 18, 2017. The system adjusts the angle of the panels relative to the sun throughout the day for maximum efficiency, a representative said.

There are a lot of confusing conversations about what power companies will or won’t do to increase the use of clean energy in the future.

But one thing is clear: Question 6 is the only measure that guarantees 50 percent of Nevada’s electricity is renewable by 2030.

Question 6, which will appear on the November ballot, is about what type of power you receive from an electricity provider. Question 3, which also will be on the ballot, is about whether NV Energy will be the sole supplier of your energy in the future.

While opponents and supporters of Question 3 are duking it out for voters’ attention, Question 6 currently has no registered opponents. Why? Because Nevadans know that we should be harnessing our state’s abundant natural sources of energy to create a better, healthier future.

Think of Question 6 as the backstop for whatever voters ultimately decide on Question 3. No matter who provides power in the future, Question 6 ensures that at least half of our electricity comes from renewable sources. That’s a good thing for Nevada’s environment and economy, as well as Nevadans’ health and future.

With Question 6, Nevada families can finally take a step toward creating the cleaner air that residents have been demanding for years. Both sides of the Question 3 debate see more clean energy as the future for our state’s power, but Question 6 is the only insurance policy we have to hold utility providers accountable to deliver more renewable power.

Right now, we receive more than 80 percent of our power supply from other states, costing Nevadans more than $700 million annually for fossil fuels like natural gas and coal. Question 6 will take advantage of our clean and free sunshine and support jobs here at home.

Question 6 would reduce emissions of toxic pollutants that make our air less safe to breathe. Scientists say this improved air quality will reduce asthma attacks and other respiratory illnesses, and that these health benefits will result in fewer hospital visits and school absences, saving Nevadans over $20 million per year.

Fossil-fuel-consuming power plants are among the worst polluters in the nation;we have several in the Las Vegas metro area.

It’s clear that inhaling dirty air is costly, and so are the missed opportunities for our economy.

Nevada can generate tens of thousands of new jobs and billions in new investments by voting yes on Question 6. What’s more, research from Stanford University showed that if Question 6 passes, rates of renewables increase in Nevada while our power bills will decrease.

Don’t let the the noise around Question 3 prevent Nevada from choosing a cleaner way forward. Question 6 is the sure bet for more renewables, a stronger economy, and a healthier future for our state.

Maria-Teresa Lieberman is the deputy director of Battle Born Progress, a Nevada-based social and political advocacy organization.