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Governor Brian Sandoval

Brian Sandoval
2017 ScoreB
Lifetime ScoreB

Contact Governor Sandoval:

Phone: 775-684-5670


The last two years have brought significant challenges to Governor Brian Sandoval’s administration when it came to conservation issues. The battle over rooftop solar played out for more than a year, painting Nevada in a negative light, wildfires burned important habitat in Northern Nevada, and the state continued to suffer from a severe drought until damaging floods came at the end of the year. The Governor showed leadership by establishing the New Energy Industry Task Force and signing onto the Governor’s Accord for a New Energy Future. Our evaluation of Governor Sandoval is below in four key areas.


One of the main victories of the 2017 session was the enhancement of our State Parks, both through new funding and the establishment of two new parks. Governor Sandoval took the lead on this through his Explore Your Nevada initiative. He also played a key leadership role on bringing rooftop solar back to Nevada, by establishing the New Energy Industry Task Force and with key staff participating in discussions on AB 405 during the session. That said, the administration was late to join discussions on increasing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and ultimately vetoed AB 206. On federal issues, we would like to see the Governor be a stronger advocate for Nevada’s national monuments and keeping public lands public. That being said, he has been a strong voice in opposition to storage of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, and has been a voice of reason on sage grouse conservation as the Trump administration seeks to roll back protections. B+


The conservation community has continued to enjoy good working relationships with key agency and department heads on issues ranging from renewable energy development to wildlife management. The Governor continues to make good personnel decisions, with capable directors at the Department of Wildlife, Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Office of Energy. Although we don’t always agree with the administration’s perspective, we appreciate the open door and willingness to work with advocates from many different organizations. A


As he has for his entire tenure, the Governor continues to put a lot of thought into appointments to boards and commissions. The Board of Wildlife Commissioners is a strong voice for conservation and took a stand in keeping public lands public. Recent appointments to the Public Utilities Commission have steered the state back to implementing pro-clean energy rulings after the rooftop solar fights. We were disappointed not to see a conservation seat on the Governor’s Committee on Energy Choice but appointees to New Energy Industry Task Force did great work in laying the foundation for the 2017 session and we believe the same is possible for this task force. B

Legislative Session

This session, the conservation community was successful in passing three of our four priority pieces of legislation and Governor Sandoval signed two and vetoed one. In addition, he signed important bills dealing with rooftop solar, state parks and water pollution. Of the 14 bills that reached his desk that we scored, he signed 11, while vetoing the Renewable Portfolio Standard increase (AB 206), protections for National Conservation Areas (AB 277) and Community Solar (SB 392). Overall, the 2017 session was a strong one, but opportunities were left on the table from the Governor’s veto pen. C+

Over the two terms of his administration, Governor Sandoval has had a strong record on conservation issues, and progress on key issues continued to be made during the legislative session. Unfortunately, there were opportunities that were not realized to increase our renewable energy production and allow all sectors of the economy to participate in local solar. The Governor has shown a strong commitment throughout his tenure to hire good people and rely on their expert advice, which is a stark contrast to what we see in other states and at the national level. While there are issues we don’t agree on, the Governor’s actions show that he cares about our state’s natural resources and about protecting our special places.

As we look to the future, it’s clear that there are some big issues in front of us. We need to figure out how to keep growing our clean energy economy in the world of energy choice, and we need to make sure that all Nevadans have the opportunity to participate – all of this in the face of a national government that seems to delight in the undermining of our bedrock environmental laws. Governor Sandoval has proven to be a thoughtful leader and has put the right pieces in place to be ready to help the state address these pressing questions. We look forward to working with him and ensure that we keep making progress here in Nevada.

Final Grade - B