Originally published in Channel 2 News
On Monday, Nevada State Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager and Senate Majority Leader stood alongside 60 members of Nevada’s conservation community to commence Conservation Lobby Day.
The event occurred in front of the Nevada Legislature where speakers emphasized the urgency of legislation to protect Nevada’s lands and wildlife and advance clean energy solutions.
“Conservation Lobby Day is an opportunity for us to show the solidarity of the conservation movement and the strength in the belief that all Nevadans deserve clean water, clean air, access to our public lands, and a prosperous and equitable clean energy future,” said Andrew Sierra, Political and Organizing Director for Nevada Conservation League. “Nevadans feel the impacts of climate-fueled weather events firsthand, from extreme heat to drought to wildfires. It’s why advocates from across the state are joining us today as we lobby our elected officials and fight for conservation priorities. We know a win for our environment is a win for all communities.”
Legislative leaders ensured conservation advocates that progress to safeguard public lands, address environmental injustice, reduce climate pollution, and advance clean energy would be protected.
“Two Nevada cities, Reno and Las Vegas, are two of the country’s fastest-warming cities. It’s imperative that we continue to build climate progress as a state. Part of the solution is our public lands,” said Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro. “That’s why in 2017, I made public lands a priority, and I worked closely with organizations to make sure we passed SB 413 to establish Public Lands Day in Nevada… And just last week, President Biden designated Avi Kwa Ame National Monument. Protecting these lands that are sacred to Nevada tribes is also going to fight climate change. And the fight against climate change is the fight for our children’s future.”
In anticipation of the work that remains of this legislative session, Majority Leader Cannizzaro added, “we are not turning back the clock. We are not going to change the sound policies we’ve enacted that help us to make Nevada a place that everyone can call home.”
“Climate justice is not only about protecting the environment but is about ensuring our communities have equal access to safe living conditions, said Speaker of the Assembly Steve Yeager. “It is our responsibility as legislators to work towards a future where everyone has a fair chance for a healthy, prosperous life… As Speaker, I can confidently say that we will continue to advance legislation that continues to expand our clean energy economy, brings good-paying jobs to the state of Nevada, reduces emissions, and creates safe, resilient, and healthy communities for everyday Nevadans.”
Conservation advocates spoke in support of outdoor education and recreation programs for students, wildlife crossing infrastructure, and incentives to adopt clean, electric trucks and buses to reduce climate pollution.
“‘The sun comes out for everyone.’ That’s what’s often heard in Latino households every morning across Nevada, as working families do their part to keep the economy going while facing the brunt of climate change. We know some people get to enjoy the sun more than others, said Angel Lazcano, Environmental Justice Organizer for Somos Votantes. “Funding the Outdoor Education and RecreationGrant Program will go a long way toward removing barriers that prevent our families from connecting with our state’s natural beauty — a connection that is well deserved for students and our families.”
“Nevada’s Latino families live in some of the hottest neighborhoods in some of the fastest-warming cities and most polluted cities in the nation. We are disproportionately paying high energy and medical bills as a result. We are at the frontline of poverty and climate crisis,” said Aria Flores with Chispa Nevada. “This legislative session, we can start by cleaning up the trucks and buses that run through our neighborhoods placed there through decisions rooted in injustice. We can plan for how heat will impact our neighborhoods and workers who labor outdoors. We can also acknowledge how decades of environmental racism have placed burden after burden on our communities. And we can work together to right these wrongs in our communities. A pollution-free future is possible, and we look forward to working with legislators to make this happen.”
“Nevada is home to so many incredible landscapes, including Lake Tahoe, Death Valley National Park, Valley of Fire State Park, and Great Basin National Park, giving all of us reasons to spend time outdoors. These are incredible landscapes that we need to protect, and wildlife plays a huge part in that,” says Louis Bubala, Board Member for the Nevada Outdoor Business Coalition.“Legislation to expand wildlife crossings has been introduced this session, which will create bypasses over roads so wildlife can safely pass and passengers can safely travel.”
Student advocates also joined Conservation Lobby Day and stressed the urgency of climate action, saying this is already impacting their generation.
“I grew up going to the Nevada Outdoor School, designed to teach kids about the outdoors in the doors. I participated in this and learned about wildlife, plants, and how to explore responsibly,” said high school junior Maylyn Bubala. “What is going to pass in this building today will affect my generation and future generations.”
“We protect our environment because future generations depend on us,” says third-grade student Carlos Sierra.
The press conference marked the commencement of a lobbying week of action for conservation advocates across the state and will be followed by virtual discussions with advocates and legislators on Tuesday, March 28, and Wednesday, March 29.
These town halls will focus on climate inequity, clean energy, public lands, and wildlife protection.
(Nevada Conservation League)