In a victory for clean air and healthy communities, the last remaining coal-fired generating station in Southern Nevada has closed. NV Energy has operated the Reid-Gardner Generating Station in Moapa, Nev., northeast of Las Vegas, for the last five decades.
Leaders with the national and local chapters of the Sierra Club, and for community leaders of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, who live adjacent to the plant and have long been concerned about health impacts from the burning of coal, have worked for years to close the plant, which also was implicated in the pollution that dirtied the skies over the Grand Canyon National Park about 50 miles southeast of Moapa.
Partners and allies of the RenewNV partnership, working to support Nevada’s clean-energy economy, welcomed the news.
“The closure of the Reid-Gardner coal fired power plant is a testament to persistence and good policy,” said Jennifer Taylor, executive director, Clean Energy Project. “The hard work from various environmental, Native American, public health and clean energy advocacy groups, led by Sierra Club and Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, helped bring this issue to the forefront and help develop legislation and policies to virtually eliminate coal generated energy from Nevada’s energy mix.”
“There is no such thing as clean coal, and underrepresented communities like the Moapa Paiute Tribe have been suffering from this coal plant for decades,” said Vinny Spotleson, program director for Nevada Conservation League. “As the largest polluter in Southern Nevada shuts down, we have a big opportunity to continue the transition to clean energy. We have to thank the Nevada Legislature and Governor Sandoval for passing a law in 2013 to make this happen, and now in this 2017 session we hope they will continue to take strong action and pass important legislation to put Nevada back in the lead nationally on solar and other sources of clean energy.”
“As the Reid-Gardner power plant reaches the end of its operating days, it’s time for Nevada to fix mistakes and move boldly into the twenty-first century,” said Sondra Cosgrove, president of the League of Women Voters of the Las Vegas Valley. “It was wrong to put the burden of coal-related pollution and poisons on our Native community in Moapa while Clark County reaped the benefits of the electricity generated. With advances in technology and political will we can, and should, develop new and truly clean energy options so we can all embrace a healthier future.”
“The short-term challenge of closing the Reid-Gardner Power Plant is far outweighed by the long-term benefit to the children and future generations of Nevada,” said Jerry Holliday of the Uplift Foundation.
“Reid Gardner powered down just as Nevada is taking its place as a national clean energy leader,” said Elspeth DiMarzio, campaign representative for the Nevada Chapter of the Sierra Club. “The state now employs more than 20,000 people in the clean energy and energy efficiency industries and they are proving they can reliably and affordably power our state without coal.”
“The Moapa Band of Paiutes is relieved that Reid Gardner Power Station is finally ceasing operations with the closure of Unit 4,” the Moapa Band of Paiutes Tribal Council said in a statement. “We applaud NV Energy for standing by its commitment to retire this plant, which has been a source of environmental and health concerns to the tribe and its members for a long time. We hope that NV Energy and our other neighbors join us in leading the way toward developing more renewable energy sources that create jobs, clean power, and opportunity right here in Nevada.”