So, Where Exactly Do You Stand on the Fossil Beds National Monument, Mr. Reid?

Mammoth Taking a Stance on Harry Reid

Mammoth Taking a Stance on Harry Reid

Well, it looks a bit like the proposed fossil beds national monument to be located in the northern valley has run smack into election year politics–kinda like a kite caught in powerlines.

NV Energy has proposed cutting through the monument with another huge set of power transmission lines similar to those that already mark the northern boundary. (Sun,RJ) Presumably, the lines are necessary to support “green” power initiatives.

Probably the most important voice in all this will be that of Senator Harry Reid. Unfortunately, the power lines likely will have his support. They are part of his plan to hook up solar, wind, and geothermal plants throughout the state to the power grid via transmission lines between the Vegas Valley and Ely.

In fact, it seems that the energy plan is a cornerstone of Reid’s campaign pitch, which he claims will bring new jobs to the area. The plan, however, requires transmission lines. Here’s a quote from the Reid campaign site:

To deliver renewable energy from rural locations to consumers, Nevada must build new transmission lines. Sen. Reid’s Clean Renewable Energy and Economic Development Act is groundbreaking legislation that will ensure that Nevada reaps the full benefits of renewable energy. Building new transmission lines will also create jobs and encourage more companies to build renewable energy plants here in Nevada. Sen. Reid’s commitment to this issue will benefit Nevada’s economy and consumers for years to come.

And you don’t have to surf the Internets very long to find Reid press releases trumpeting his approval of a recent decision by the Public Utilities Commission to support the new lines. (Lincoln County Record)

In the past, however, Reid seemed supportive of the national monument, too. Members of his staff attended a meeting on the monument several months ago and indicated that the Senator’s office was helping to move relevant legislation along.

Now it looks like a very close Senate election has changed all that. Mr. Reid is perhaps loathe to alienate power company magnates who provide campaign cash and whose support is required for large scale projects to build transmission lines.

Still, the campaign should probably keep the following in mind. The support for the monument in North Las Vegas and environs comes from what is perhaps the first true grassroots movement in the Northern Valley, a notoriously apathetic place. It is a citizens movement which brought together people from across the political spectrum and united local governments in an unprecedented fashion.

Michael Yackira is Thrilled to Help Jim Gibbons Build Coal PlantsI would guess that it would be devastating to the Senator’s tenuous lead in his current race for that constituency to decide that his opponent, as flawed as she is, is a palatable alternative. A grassroots organization impassioned by this issue in the heart of blue Nevada throwing its support to Reid’s opposition would seem to be the death knell of his campaign.

Pretty stupid, too, since a phone call the Michael Yackira, C.E.O. on NV Energy from the Senate Majority Leader would probably put a stop to the idea pretty quick.

Ah, Mr. Yackira. One of my favorite people. He happily sat on Lame Duck Governor Jim Gibbons’ committee to cover-up global warming a few years back just so he could build coal-fired power plants. Those were the same plants that Harry Reid came out against a year or two later.

It would certainly be entertaining, too, to all of us in Nor’Town to see folks like Sharron Angle and Kenneth Wegner come out against powerlines and in favor of the fossils. Mainly because it would be something like being an eyewitness to Hell freezing over.

But, I suppose the most obvious question is: why not run the damn line through the Clark County Shooting Park? Heck, nobody goes up there anyway, and the County’s losing big money on it. Why not lease it out to NV Energy? Win-win all the way around!

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