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2017 Conservation Scorecard

Dear Nevadan,

Scorecards tell a story. And the story of the 2017 Legislative Session is that elections matter! I know we say that a lot, but the 79th Nevada Legislative Session is a great example of just how true it is. In 2016, the Nevada Conservation League worked to ensure that pro-conservation champions were elected up and down the ballot. We made deep investments in key legislative races across Nevada and worked to ensure that clean energy and protecting our public lands were part of the electoral conversation. That investment paid off. With new leadership in both the Senate and Assembly, proven champions returning, and new legislators committed to protecting Nevada’s environment, the legislature posted one of the most pro-conservation sessions in our history.

Prior to the session, Nevadans made clear that they expected the legislature to jump start our state’s clean energy economy after decisions at the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada that stalled the rooftop solar industry. Our champions delivered. Over the 120 days of the session, legislators passed 11 bills expanding access to, the use of, and production of clean energy in Nevada, including an unprecedented expansion of Nevada’s clean energy standard to 40% by 2030.

But there was more to the story. Public lands also took center stage with five bills passing both legislative chambers. Legislators made it clear that Nevadans care deeply about our public lands in two resolutions, one supporting the protection of Gold Butte and Basin and Range National Monuments and the other making it clear that we want public lands to remain in public hands. Legislators also set aside a day to celebrate these lands, expanded access to our state parks, and passed legislation protecting our National Conservation Areas.

What else will you find in the 2017 Conservation Scorecard? Not one rollback to clean air, clean water, or public health protections passed the session. We didn’t score a single bill where the correct vote was a no vote. Scores are up from the 78th legislative session across the board. A record number of legislators scored 100%. Significant votes on most of the bills we looked at were bipartisan, especially when it came to expanding Nevada’s clean energy economy.

What won’t you find in this scorecard? During the 79th legislative session, more Nevada advocates took action with the Nevada Conservation League than in any previous legislative session, acting to support clean energy, clean air, clean water, and public health. We are certain that this fact alone made a huge difference in the success we saw this session and the increase in scores across the board. Legislators from all parts of Nevada and from all political parties heard from their constituents and responded. We also weren’t alone. The Nevada Conservation League is proud to work with several coalitions and partners that worked tirelessly to make the success of the 2017 session a reality. These wins are not simply NCL’s wins but the wins of the conservation community and the thousands of advocates who called, wrote, and visited their legislators before and during the session.

In all, the 79th Legislative Session saw strong progress and leadership on some important issues to Nevada’s voters. We advanced clean energy, protected public lands and water, while making investments in the health of our communities. But as is typical there is still work to be done. While the legislature passed 11 bills on clean energy two failed to receive the Governor’s signature, expanding the state’s clean energy standard to 40% by 2030 and giving more Nevadans access to clean energy in their neighborhoods through community solar gardens. That is why it is important to use the scorecard not as stopping point, but as a progress report as we work to make sure that Nevada is the leading consumer and producer of clean renewable energy;. that Nevadans have access to protected public lands for recreation and sport; and that no matter where you live in the state, you have access to clean air, clean water, and an environment free of harmful pollution.

We have included contact information for your legislators. If they scored well and voted for bills that you care about, call them and say thanks. If you would like to see them do better, ask them why they voted the way they did, and let them know these issues are important to you and that you know the score.

Thank you for your support and thank you for checking out the 2017 Conservation Scorecard.

Andy Maggi
Executive Director
Nevada Conservation League