One win this session changed water law to require better accounting for consumption of water, including by the mining industry. We didn’t get all we wanted; the bill sponsored on our behalf, SB231, ran into mining industry opposition; lobbyists told legislators that their industry was being unfairly singled out. As a compromise GBRW and PLAN agreed to drop the “contentious“ language and have the most important aspect folded into SB47, known as the “good water bill”, which passed. It is now required by law that all permitted water is included in the budget for each water basin regardless of whether the consumption is considered a temporary use or not.

SB298, the “bad water bill”, was defeated. It would have changed definitions in Nevada water law to make it easier for Las Vegas to import water from rural eastern Nevada.

Water issues cross over with mining reform and community health, issues such as pit lake water use, post-mining treatment of wastewater and groundwater pumping by the mines. Mines are second only to municipalities in groundwater pumping in Nevada. We are always working on some aspect these issues, and we’ll be back at the Legislature with reform proposals in 2019.

Lithium mining, a hot metal these days because it is used in batteries, got a leg up with the passage of AB52.

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY We follow energy issues for obvious reasons; alternative energy in general preserves more of our public lands for people, habitat and water and combats climate change. There were wins and losses for alternative energy this session. See below for a digest of important bills regarding mining, water and energy.

WINS AND LOSSES  WATER, PUBLIC LANDS AND RESOURCES (SELECTED BILLS)

ISSUE                                                              BILL #                        OUTCOME    

Abolish Mining Oversight Committee (MOAC) AB33 Defeated – win for community involvement in mining issues
Prohibit fracking in NV AB159 Failed
Sanctioned water overappropriation AB298 Failed – Important win
Oppose Yucca Mtn. Repository AJR10 Passed
Encourage Lithium Mining AB52 Passed
Cancels out Transfer of Public Lands SJR12 Passed
The “good” Water Bill SB47 Passed
Healthy Basins SB231 Failed; some provisions in SB47, which passed
Public Lands Day SB413 Passed
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY BILLS
Renewable Portfolio Standard AB206 Vetoed by Governor
Energy Efficiency AB223, SB150 Passed
Solar gardens SB392 Failed
Net metering SB405 Passed