It is time to wish the Environmental Protection Agency happy birthday.  This massive bureaucracy is 45 years old on December 2.  Having grown from a baby to a toddler to a massive adult the agencies first year budget was $1,003,984,000 and has grown to $8,139,887,000 in 2014.

So what do they do with all your hard earned dollars?  Here are just a couple of examples.  They employ 1020 lawyers who are there to make sure we are all in compliance with the policies of the EPA.  They give 72 billion dollars out for grants to promote their policies.  This is a clear violation of the Federal Anti-Lobbying Act, but in today’s world that doesn’t matter.  Grants are given out to environmentalist’s who promote EPA policies.

This includes solar energy as well as wind.  Both forms of energy are interesting, but can hardly, with today’s technology, support a city.  So it is apparent we will still need to rely on getting the bulk of our electricity from Nevada Energy or as in the case of Mesquite, Overton Power.

The EPA is being sued by 24 states who believe the over-reach of the EPA’s “Clean Air Power Plan” is illegal.  Nevada’s Attorney General Adam Laxalt has not joined with the 24 other AG’s to fight the over-reach of the EPA.

Climate change theory has as many detractors as it has proponents.  What used to be called “Global Warming” was changed to “Climate Change” after it was exposed many scientists had changed information on global warming because it did not fit the agenda of the left and the scientists themselves were being funded to come up with a preconceived outcome.  Why would they do this?  Because they are funded in grants to Universities etc. that your tax dollars pay for.

An entire new OpEd could be written on “Climate Change, Corruption and Cronyism”, but I digress.

It would be in the best interest of the people of Nevada for Attorney General Laxalt to join the other 24 AG’s to fight the EPA over-stepping their jurisdiction.

The Clean Air Power Plan will hurt the state’s economy, discourage growth and trickle down to the poor who do not have the revenue to pay higher energy bills.

Casinos are the driving force behind the economy in Nevada.  We do have manufacturing and other businesses that use large amounts of energy, but without the casino industry Nevada would be just another western state with low population.  The casino industry attracts tourists and tourists bring money to the state.

Right now the casino industry purchases their energy from Nevada Power.  Wynn Resorts reports they could save up to $7 million a year by purchasing power from other providers, this according to an article in the Review Journal written by James Taylor, Senior Fellow of the Heartland Institute.  The casino industry would like to have a choice in who they buy their power from and how much will be from coal generated plants, wind and solar.  But if they opt out of using Nevada Energy they will be assessed a penalty.  To change providers, the Nevada Public Utilities Commission says that just the MGM, Sands and Wynn casinos will have to pay a penalty of 121 million to compensate Nevada Energy.  Which by the way is owned by Warren Buffett.

To be fair, you need to know that Nevada Energy is burdened by having to purchase excess electricity at above market prices for solar producers.  This cost is passed on to the people of Nevada and AD19.

With an economy that is very slowly recovering from the housing crash, the casino industry is having issues meeting expenses.

Nevada Energy has claimed that that they would lose money if the casinos were to have the ability to change providers and that would be passed on to the residential and business customers in terms of an increase in rates.  What you need to know is the Nevada Assembly passed legislation that deregulates energy companies.

Understand that AD19 goes into Las Vegas in several areas so they do not have Overton Power, but you do need to be aware that although Overton Power purchases most of their power from Arizona Power and Light (APL), they have an allocation of hydropower from Hoover Dam and if they need more power  for peak demand, they purchase from Nevada Energy.  Overton Power also contracts with Nevada Energy for power delivery from APL.  This is called a “wheeling charge” to transport the power to OPD’s grid connection at the Reid-Gardner Switching Yard.

In the upcoming legislature in 2017, the problem needs to be addressed to benefit industry and to benefit the people of Assembly District 19, as well as Nevada Energy.

So a solution that benefits all would be a bill written in the Nevada Legislature to protect the public from higher utility rates, keep the costs down for the casino industry so jobs are not lost, and satisfy the EPA and the environmental lobbyists.  Working towards a cleaner energy environment without hurting the people who rely on low energy prices as part of their household budget.

Taylor’s solution to the problem is a common sense approach that I endorse and will support in the 2017 Assembly session.

He writes “The Legislature can assist all parties by passing compromise legislation.  An ideal bill would allow casinos to purchase lower-priced electricity from third-party sources, while simultaneously allowing NV Energy to purchase excess solar power at wholesale, rather than retail prices.  Casinos would get relief from high electricity prices, NV Energy would offset its lost customer base by paying more reasonable prices for excess solar power and electricity consumers would no longer be footing the bill for above market solar power prices.”

Solar already benefits from a 30% subsidy for the cost of solar power equipment and many solar companies are now building their own panels while collecting the subsidy.

I have already committed to co-sponsoring a bill as described above with Assemblyman John Moore in the next session.

It truly is time to bring some common sense to the Nevada Assembly and work on issues that will benefit all of the people in Nevada.  It’s is also the time to stand for state’s rights and not fold to the demands of the EPA or Nevada Energy.  It is time to protect the public and industry in Nevada from the over-reach of the for EPA and influence of lobbyists.

Attorney General Adam Laxalt should join the other 24 states in the fight against the unlawful over-reach of the EPA, to protect all of the people of Nevada, but especially the poor and the retired who are on a fixed income.

We are all in this together.

Connie Foust
Candidate Nevada Assembly District 19,