This page was updated on 9/10/18.
Laxalt joined his campaign donors, the Koch brothers, in trying to block investigation into ExxonMobil’s decades-long campaign to discredit climate science.
In 2015, Laxalt quietly added Nevada to a fight to block a multi-state investigation into ExxonMobil and several organizations aligned with the oil giant, including the Koch network, which has spent $2.5 million already to elect Laxalt as Nevada’s next governor.
In a 2016 amicus brief in support of Exxon’s motion for an injunction to halt the investigation, Laxalt wrote that climate science is a product of a “cultural movement” that sought to promote a “social ideology” and block “vigorous debate” about the human causes of climate change. The Reno Gazette-Journal notes: “Then, as now, human-caused climate change is not subject to much debate in the scientific community. It is the prevailing view endorsed by national science academies in every major industrialized country. Studies show it also remains a long-settled point of consensus among the vast majority of published climate researchers.” A federal judge characterized Laxalt’s brief as a “heckler’s veto” unworthy of consideration as evidence.
Against Sandoval’s wishes, Laxalt challenged the Clean Power Plan, but ignored a question on if he supports Trump’s decision to phase out the Plan.
In 2016, Laxalt filed an amicus brief challenging the Clean Power Plan as part of his crusade against “federal overreach” during the Obama Administration. Gov. Sandoval sharply rebuked Laxalt’s suit through a spokeswoman:
“The governor did not request the filing of an amicus brief in the Clean Power Plan case. In taking this action, the attorney general is simply offering his legal opinion.”
Laxalt has snubbed several reporter questions on his views on Nevada’s job-creating renewable energy sector.
Laxalt has ignored multiple questions on his position on the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) ballot initiative, which would increase the portion of energy from renewables that Nevada power companies use. The issues page of his website suggests he opposes the measure, but his campaign declined to clarify.
The initiative to promote renewable energy would be a huge boon for Nevada’s economy. In testimony before the Nevada legislature, the Natural Resources Defense Council said that “raising the RPS would inject over $3 billion of additional capital investments into Nevada’s economy between 2017 and 2030…spur[ring] continued job growth” in a range of fields. An analysis by Environmental Entrepreneurs showed that over 31,000 Nevadans work in clean energy jobs, and the industry saw a 9.5 percent growth over the previous year — much higher than Nevada’s overall job growth.
Laxalt won’t comment on Trump’s move to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.
Meanwhile, Nevada has continued to suffer the negative effects of climate change. Above average temperatures exacerbate dangerous and damaging wildfires in the state. Both Reno and Las Vegas saw record heat in 2017 — it was the hottest year for Las Vegas and the fifth-hottest year for Reno. Las Vegas also experienced its driest fall ever, with 109 straight days without rain.
#AskLaxalt if he shares Nevadans’ priority of job-creating clean energy.
A 2016 poll of Nevada voters showed two-thirds of them support renewable energy like solar power, and a majority of Democrats, Republicans, and independents were more likely to support candidates who favored investing in renewables. 2018 polling showed more than two-thirds of likely Nevada voters support an initiative to ensure energy providers got at least half of their energy from renewable sources.