Scorecard Bill Summaries
Protecting Nevada’s Lakes & Streams
Assembly Bill 167
Invasive species such as quagga mussels and Eurasian milfoil have been spreading throughout the west and have already infested the Colorado River system, including Lake Mead. These invasive species pollute our waters and damage sport fisheries. A key way to prevent the spread of these species is a boat inspection program. AB 167 gives the authority to the Nevada Department of Wildlife to conduct boat inspections to protect the waters of our state.
Smart From the Start Energy Planning
Assembly Bill 307
CONSERVATION COMMUNITY PRIORITY
A major hurdle for the successful siting and development of renewable energy projects in Nevada is the need to determine what wildlife impacts will be incurred and what proper mitigation is for those disturbances. With the status of the sage grouse as warranted, but precluded under the Endangered Species Act, it is incumbent upon the state to make proactive steps to enact management plans to prevent a listing and it’s associated impacts on industry. AB 307 sets up a cost recovery system to ensure that the Department of Wildlife has the resources necessary to provide proper plan review for new energy projects.
Effective Wildlife Conservation
Assembly Bill 322
In the past two years, the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners has been led by a majority that has dismissed the use of sound science and has maintained a sole focus on predator management. As a result, the commission has wasted thousands of dollars of sportsmen’s money and has focused on the micromanagement of the agency instead of what is best for Nevada’s wildlife. AB 322 made a few changes to the commission and the department by better defining the conservation position, giving the Governor more latitude with the appointment of the Director and giving responsibility for the implementation of the Dream Tag to the department. As a result of this bill and the Governor’s subsequent appointments, the commission now has a majority that has refocused on sound science and conservation.
Increasing Recycling in Nevada
Assembly Bill 427
Although Nevada has made progress on increasing recycling rates in the state, there is still much that can and should be done. Single stream recycling is still in its infancy in Reno and Las Vegas, and most rural areas lack access to recycling of any kind. One idea that has been successful in other states is a beverage container deposit program. AB 427 in its original form would have instituted a beverage container deposit program. As passed, the bill sets up an interim study on ways that Nevada can increase recycling rates.
Labeling for Motor Fuels
Assembly Bill 453
Up until 2010, Nevada has had a regulation prohibiting manganese products in motor fuel within the state. Now that manganese is a legal additive to fuel, AB 453 would have required labeling at the pump to alert consumers to its presence. Manganese has been proven in some studies to cause damage to the catalytic converters of automobiles, leading to the malfunctioning of emission control systems.
Wildlife Habitat Restoration
Assembly Bill 503
Declining numbers of some species of wildlife in Nevada is causing significant concern. The loss of habitat due to causes such and wildfire and development is one of the key reasons why. AB 503 would have provided some resources for habitat restoration by increasing the existing habitat fee for hunting and fishing licenses from $2 to $5 and by giving the non-hunting community the opportunity to contribute by charging the same $5 fee for anyone accessing a state wildlife management area. The bill underwent significant changes throughout the session, and the final version only includes a voluntary fee, along with language regarding the allowed uses of the habitat fund. The Senate vote for this scorecard is with the fee increase included, although that version did not reach the necessary two-thirds threshold.
Small-scale Renewable Access
Senate Bill 59
Entering the 2011 legislative session, Nevada had a cap that stated that no more than 1% of energy could come from distributed generation systems (rooftop solar, local wind and waterpower). If this cap were to kick in, it would essentially shut down the local industry, costing jobs and slowing our transition to a clean energy economy. SB 59 in its final form increased this cap from 1% to 2% and made it apply to the service territory of NV Energy in both ends of the state.
Eliminating Eminent Domain for Industry
Senate Bill 86
Nevada had an archaic law on the books that gave the mining and sugar beet industries the power of eminent domain, essentially allowing them to take any private land they chose as long as they provided just compensation. Although this law seemed to be in conflict with measures passed by the voters of Nevada to restrict eminent domain, this bill made it clear that specific industries should not have this power to take potentially sensitive lands.
Protection for Nevada’s Wildlife
Senate Bill 102
SB 102 was a bill aimed at protections for Nevada’s big game resources. The bill did two things. First, it allowed for the Department of Wildlife to regulate the practice of shed antler hunting, which is the practice of collecting antlers that deer and elk shed at the end of the winter. The bill also increased the civil penalties for poaching trophy big game species to bring the amounts in line with surrounding western states.
Increasing Auto Fuel Economy
Senate Bill 144
An important factor in maximizing fuel economy is keeping a car’s tires properly inflated. This will result in less fuel being burned, which has a positive impact on air quality. SB 144 would have required that any repair garage that services a car also inflate the tires to the recommended pressure.
Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariffs
Senate Bill 184
CONSERVATION COMMUNITY PRIORITY
Feed-in tariffs are a policy tool that has been used with great success to jump-start the small-scale renewable energy market. Offering a much more simple form of incentive, the law would have guaranteed a rate to anyone that wanted to build a small energy system and feed that energy onto the grid. SB 184, as amended by the Senate committee was a feed-in tariff law for Nevada that contained capacity caps and targets that reduced the risk to the average ratepayer.
Gambling With The Future of Lake Tahoe
Senate Bill 271
Shared by Nevada and California, Lake Tahoe is the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada, a natural wonder that draws people from all over the world. The two states recognized this unique situation and the importance of preserving the lake by signing the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact in 1969, which provides for joint planning to ensure Tahoe’s clarity. SB 271 sets forth a timetable for Nevada’s withdrawal from the compact by requiring three changes to the compact and the adoption of a regional plan by 2015. If these things do not happen, Nevada will withdraw in October of 2015. This bill amounts to a threat by the state of Nevada that could have devastating impacts on the Lake.
Increasing Energy Efficiency
Senate Bill 313
The cheapest megawatt of energy is the one that you don’t produce. In that vein, the cheapest and cleanest way for Nevada to reduce our carbon emission is to increase energy efficiency. Senate Bill 313 would have set appliance efficiency standards for those not already covered by the federal government as well as include a new consideration of energy efficiency in utility resource planning.
Regulation of Off-Highway Vehicles
Senate Bill 387
In the 2009 session, the conservation community was successful in passing SB 394, which would set up a system of titling and registration for off-highway vehicles (OHV). SB 387 was a clean-up bill to that legislation that would allow for the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a VIN number to an OHV that did not have one, and to charge a fee for that service. The bill is important to ensure that all OHVs on public lands are properly registered.
Increasing Recycling in Apartments
Senate Bill 417
As Nevada looks to increase our recycling rates, one place where recycling tends to lag behind the rest of the state is in apartment buildings and other multi-family dwellings. Senate Bill 417 simply requires the State Environmental Commission to issue regulations to require recycling containers in these complexes.
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