In the Nevada Senate Race, Energy Policy Is the Big Difference Between Cortez Masto and Laxalt. | Whuff News

In Nevada’s tight Senate race between incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto and GOP challenger Adam Laxalt, energy policy and oil have emerged as issues of attack alongside inflation, the economy and abortion.

Cortez Masto, the first Latina senator and a climate progressive who supports the development of renewable energy and wants to limit fossil exploration on public lands, has attacked Laxalt because of his ties to “big oil companies that raise prices for our families.”

Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general and staunch ally of former President Donald Trump who defended Trump’s election fraud, blames Cortez Masto for high gas prices and says the Democrats’ climate policies are robbing the nation of “energy freedom.”

According to an average of 13 polls monitored by FiveThirtyEight, a political analysis website, Cortez Masto is leading by 0.4 points as of October 31. Clear Politics shows a one-point lead for Laxalt as of October 31. Their average The poll also shows that Cortez Masto was leading until September 14.

The Nevada seat is at the center of a closely contested Senate race that could determine control of the upper chamber, where each party now holds 50 seats and Democrats control it because of Vice President Kamala Harris’s divorce vote. Cortez Masto is considered by many analysts to be the most vulnerable person in the Democratic Party.

On Laxalt’s campaign website, there is a picture of Cortez Masto taking a selfie superimposed over pictures of gas station prices across Nevada. He blames the government’s high gas prices on what he sees as ineffective Democratic policies that prioritize renewable energy.

While Laxalt says little about his stance on environmental issues and mentions nothing about them on his campaign website, he attacked Cortez Masto’s “green agenda” in an interview. He said “the sun and the wind are not enough, the work will never be done.”

As of 2021, one-third of the energy produced within Nevada will come from renewable sources, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The government has set a target of increasing this percentage to 50 percent by 2030 through a renewed portfolio. Cortez Masto’s website notes that he has co-authored a number of bills designed to encourage renewable energy development and production in Nevada and across the country.

Last month, Laxalt it was tweeted that Cortez Masto “supports Biden’s anti-energy policies” will further stress the electric grid in times of extreme heat and energy demand. He does not associate extreme heat with a warming planet caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

While serving the government in 2016, Laxalt joined 10 other attorneys general in filing a court brief supporting Exxon’s effort to stop a fraud investigation into whether the company lied to the public about the dangers of climate change.

As Laxalt’s television ads blamed Cortez Masto and President Joe Biden for inflation and rising gas prices, the incumbent senator released an ad reminding Nevadans of his opponent’s ties to the oil and gas industry.

The Laxalt family name has been present in Nevada politics since the candidate’s grandfather, Paul Laxalt, served as the state’s governor from 1967 to 1971 and then as a US Senator from 1975 to 1987. contrary to his grandfather’s convictions.

Fourteen members of the Laxalt family came forward to support Cortez Masto. They praised the acting senator’s promotion of preserving Nevada’s public lands and addressing the growing threat posed by wildfires and drought.

“Senator Cortez Masto was instrumental in recently securing more than $3.4 billion in wildfire prevention, mitigation, and restoration for bi-partisan national infrastructure projects,” family members wrote in a statement on Oct. 12. Catherine has led efforts to reduce the impact of the drought in Nevada. He even asked surrounding states to get involved in the conservation efforts that exist throughout Nevada. “

David Damore, chairman of the Department of Political Science at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, presented his work on water conservation. In the Las Vegas Valley, every drop of water used internally is recycled and returned to Lake Mead, he said.

“We are the only place available [Colorado] The river that does that,” he said, with the Southern Nevada Water Authority contributing money to the construction of a water recovery system in Los Angeles.

The issue of Laxalt’s ties to the oil and gas industry has come up in past elections, including his run for Governor in 2018. The Reno Gazette-Journal wrote about Laxalt’s efforts to block a 2016 investigation into what Exxon knew as early as 1977 about. the link between the burning of fossil fuels and global warming. The Freedom Partners Action Fund, backed by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch and other oil interests, spent $2.5 million in 2018 to support Laxalt’s campaign for governor of Nevada.

OpenSecrets reports that the oil and gas industry has donated $233,952 to Laxalt’s current Senate campaign. This does not refer to donations made to support Laxalt’s indirect campaign from Super PACs funded by those directly involved in oil and gas interests.

The Sierra Club took an unusual organizational step and openly opposed Laxalt’s 2018 bid for governor in the Reno Gazette-Journal, calling him “Nevada’s poison.”

The Sierra Club has allowed Cortez Masto to be re-elected to the Senate, and the League of Conservation Voters has given him a 97 percent approval rating, meaning he voted in line with the environmental group’s positions on all issues. In 2021, he scored 100 percent.

“Senator Cortez Masto is one of our biggest champions in the US Senate and his re-election is one of our most important things,” said Craig Auster, the league’s vice president of political affairs. “He understands what it means to continue to grow the clean energy economy and create good paying clean energy jobs for the state.”

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The Nevada Conservation League, an affiliate of the League of Conservation Voters that endorses state political candidates, also praised Cortez Masto’s commitment to strengthening the clean energy economy by introducing legislation that would support solar supply and protect public lands from new oil. and gas rental.

Angeyn Tabalba, director of communications for the Nevada Conservation League, said she expects Nevada voters to recognize Cortez Masto’s record on climate change issues on the ballot this year.

“It’s not just Senator Cortez Masto,” Tabalba said. “At the bottom of the ticket we have to hold the line to make sure we re-elect and elect climate champions to office because if we don’t have them I think our ability to make progress on these issues will disappear.”

The LCV Victory Fund, a separate PAC but affiliated with the League of Conservation Voters, launched a $1.5 million television ad in August featuring a Nevada business owner dealing with the impact of high gas prices and frustrated by Laxalt’s connections to the oil industry. .

Laxalt also earned a spot on the Victory Fund’s Dirty Dozen list, which includes 12 candidates who are consistently anti-environmentalists regardless of party affiliation. The web page cites Laxalt’s $80,000 investment in the oil industry, including stock in ExxonMobil worth up to $15,000.

According to the Environmental Voter Project, polling data in Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania show that despite high gas prices and inflation, voters are likely to back climate-first candidates. This polling data, completed in partnership with Beacon Research, suggests that encouraging conservationists to vote could influence the outcome of Senate elections in these four swing states.

While the Laxalt campaign did not respond to a request for comment, the Cortez Masto campaign shared a number of its ads about to fight wildfires and adding solar energy projects across the country. Nevada’s solar economy is already one of the largest in the country, providing about 15 percent of the state’s electricity as well as thousands of jobs, according to the Nevada Independent.

Nevada has been a leader in solar energy production since 2010, when it became the first state to approve solar energy projects on public land. The Bureau of Land Management is currently considering the expansion of proposed solar projects in the vast and sunny desert.

As polling in the Laxalt-Cortez Masto race shows an apparent tie, the influence of voters who care deeply about the climate and the environment remains unclear. The Environmental Voter Project found that voters who rarely turn out in midterms are twice as likely to list the climate as a top consideration when choosing a candidate.

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