Nevada Republicans Voted to Endorse Coal-Fired Power Plant - 8 News NOW

Jonathan Humbert, Reporter

Nevada Republicans Voted to Endorse Coal-Fired Power Plant

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Lydia Ball, with the Sierra Club, continued, "There's a bigger upfront cost, but ten years down the road we're not going to have this upgrade cost." Lydia Ball, with the Sierra Club, continued, "There's a bigger upfront cost, but ten years down the road we're not going to have this upgrade cost."
Chairwoman Sue Lowden, of the Nevada Republican Party, continued. "That would be wonderful to have clean air, the cleanest air possible. But let's talk about the reality of what's happening right now." Chairwoman Sue Lowden, of the Nevada Republican Party, continued. "That would be wonderful to have clean air, the cleanest air possible. But let's talk about the reality of what's happening right now."

Coal power is controversial these days, although some say new plants are less environmentally destructive than older ones. Kansas recently blocked three new coal plants.

However, new support surfaced for a plant in Nevada recently. The state's republicans voted to endorse a coal-fired power plant in White Pine County, which is opening a new round of debate.

Eyewitness News spoke with the chairwoman of the Republican Party. She says the plant is important mainly for jobs and the economy.

As local attention turns to the controversy over the science of clean coal, there are new criticisms for other clean forms of energy. Reading between the lines -- whether they are power lines or something else -- the issue can be challenging.

This past weekend's decision by the Nevada Republican Party to support coal power is firing up a dialogue about power in the Silver State.

Chairwoman Sue Lowden said, "We encourage this kind of publicity."

Lowden balks at critics who say coal is an antiquated, polluting form of energy.

Critics like the Sierra Club's Lydia Ball, who said, "We call it a little disappointing."

Ball says any kind of coal is a major polluter. She says more expensive, but clean and quiet solar is the way to go. Lowden disagrees.

Chairwoman Sue Lowden, of the Nevada Republican Party, continued. "That would be wonderful to have clean air, the cleanest air possible. But let's talk about the reality of what's happening right now."

Lowden points out coal leads to cheaper rates and easy transmission over power lines. She says solar is very expensive. But Ball says solar is an investment.

Lydia Ball, with the Sierra Club, continued, "There's a bigger upfront cost, but ten years down the road we're not going to have this upgrade cost."

Lowden doubts these massive solar arrays at UNLV are the real deal, or that that the 30-year-old proven source of energy even works at all.

"That's an incredible technology that is not here. If that's part of the equation that they say that technology is invented, that we could have it tomorrow or by next year, we need to discuss that," Lowden added.

While she debates the existence of solar power, the chairwoman passed on repeated opportunities to talk about the state GOP's support of the controversial coal.

Reporter Jonathan Humbert: "Does the party have an official position on coal versus renewables?"

Chairwoman Sue Lowden: "Uh, the party did not vote on that. They might as a group, as a central committee, maybe they do. We did not vote on that."

Eyewitness News asked Lowden about the GOP's stance on other alternative energy sources. She says they support solar and wind power but that it is, quote, "not a big policy issue for them."

Meantime, Senator Harry Reid continued his push against coal and the idea that alternative energy means less work for Nevadans.

Senator Reid, (D-Nev.), said, "I'm for jobs. I'm for electricity. But this should be done in a way that's meaningful, and what's meaningful to the state of Nevada and the rest of the United States is let's do things that are environmentally sound."

Lowden says the White Pine County power plant could create up to 2,000 construction jobs and 200 to 300 permanent jobs in Ely.

E-mail Reporter Jonathan Humbert.

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