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|