Nevada Legislature Can Protect Families from Higher Electricity Rates

Affordable, reliable electricity is so intricately linked with our daily lives it is too often taken for granted as something that is our right rather than the luxury it is. Alarmingly, the Environmental Protection Agency, in an effort to appease special interest groups, is playing political games with our national energy supply that could result in Nevada families rethinking what happens when they flip the light switch.

EPA has worked hard to position its latest proposal, the warm and fuzzily named “Clean Power Plan” as a win-win for all. By mandating unachievable carbon emission reductions nationwide, EPA would have us all believe its proposal will result in public health improvements and show worldwide leadership on climate action. The agency, however, makes light of the fact its proposal will have no real impact on global greenhouse gas emissions and conveniently ignores that other world leaders aren’t following the agency’s lead. Irrespective of these issues, the EPA is set to override states and implement an expensive proposal that few can afford. This is especially true for Hispanic families and other underserved communities.

In order to meet EPA’s mandate, Nevada would have to alter dramatically the way in which it produces electricity and how much electricity Nevadans use. With the forced shift away from more affordable and abundant energy sources, electricity rates are expected to increase dramatically. One economic analysis found Nevada consumers would face a peak-year rate increase of 22 percent. As energy rates increase, of course, less money is left for other basic necessities like food, housing and healthcare.

State officials and regulators across the country are voicing mounting concern as EPA gets closer to finalizing its proposal later this summer. To stop these draconian measures from taking place, states are taking matters into their own hands, moving to ensure any implementation plans are first reviewed and approved by the state legislature prior to submission to the EPA. Nevada’s S.B. 438, which now sits in the Senate Natural Resources Committee, would give the state legislature an important role in the development of the state emissions plan. This review is critical to avoiding skyrocketing electricity rates that would result from EPA’s unrealistic demands and hurt hardworking families in their pocketbook.

According to a 2014 Survey by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, nearly 70 percent of Hispanic voters are rightfully concerned with the impact of the EPA proposal on energy costs. Despite what EPA wants us to believe, their proposal, if implemented, only spells trouble for American families in Nevada and across the country who would face the threat of less reliable and much more expensive electricity. The Nevada legislature, as the people’s branch of government, should act now and pass S.B. 438 to make sure that does not happen.