As part of the Get Loud Challenge, Las Vegas Action Fellows met with Senator Spearman to discuss the importance of implementing a clean energy plan that mitigates climate change and benefits all Nevadans, including people of color and low income communities.
Senator Spearman is one of twelve members of the New Energy Task Force that Governor Brian Sandoval created in response to the Supreme Court’s recent stay of the Clean Power Plan. The Task Force is charged with advising the Governor on how to encourage clean energy, create a resilient energy grid, and advance energy distribution systems in Nevada. The Task Force must make its first recommendation by June 1, 2016 before it disbands on September 30, 2016.
"We want to make sure that there is a just transition that will move us away from coal energy to clean renewable energy."
— Sarah Ko, 17 years old
Less than a week after offering public comment to the Task Force, 17 year old ACE Action Fellow Caitlin Gatchalian moderated a discussion between Senator Spearman, the Vegas Fellows, Sierra Club, and Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN).
The Fellows were clear with Senator Spearman about what they want the Task Force to accomplish.
15-year-old Action Fellow Jalen Seel outlined her hopes for the Task Force. said “We want to make sure that as community activists and leaders, we are creating an avenue for a dialogue between the community and the the Task Force members. We hope that as the Task Force moves forward, there will be a continued effort to collect public comments and make task force meetings more accessible for Nevadans, especially people of color and low income families.”
Sarah Ko, a 17-year-old Action Fellow from Henderson, NV, added “with the New Energy Industry Task Force, we want to make sure that there is a just transition that will move us away from coal energy to clean renewable energy—with a timeline that reflects urgency, creating green jobs with a living wage, with an intentional outreach to people of color and low income families in the creation and retraining into these green jobs.
The Fellows also expressed concern about the Nevada Public Utilities Commission’s December 2015 net metering ruling that has practically halted the roof top solar industry in Nevada. Specifically, 15-year-old Anyssa Candaleria asked how Senator Spearman can “improve on the recent net metering decision.”
In the end, Senator Spearman offered three strategic steps Nevada’s leaders must take: to work on regulatory format and rate design; to raise awareness about energy efficiency, and to institute a Green Bank that allows Nevadans to use low interest loans to improve the efficiency of residences. Moreover, the Senator encouraged the Fellows to deliver additional public comments at the next Energy Task Force meeting in May and to continue increasing awareness about climate change. The Fellows left the meeting focused, and ready to continue getting loud for a clean energy future in Nevada.