Below is the sign-on letter from Environment Nevada regarding AB221, the “Right to Repair”
March 25, 2021
Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee
401 South Carson Street, Room 4108 Carson, City, Nevada 89701
RE: Lowering Unnecessary Barriers to Affordable Electronics Repair
On behalf of 9 Nevada organizations, we urge you to support AB221, which requires that Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) who sell consumer electronics products priced between $100 and $5,000 make the repair essentials necessary to repair these products be made available at a fair and reasonable price to all interested in purchasing them.
The Right-to-Repair movement is a growing call from across the political spectrum to change the way we think about electronics repair. Following the passage of a state law in Massachusetts that requires automobile manufacturers to make the “repair essentials,” such as specialty, parts, tools, firmware, and diagrams available to customers and independent auto repair shops, advocates have been pushing for legislation that would open up other sectors of electronics products to the independent repair economy. By lowering the artificial barriers put in place by the tech industry, Nevadans can help consumers save money, cut down on electronic waste, create Nevada jobs, and reduce dependence on foreign labor.
America’s electronic waste, or e-waste, problem has been growing over the last few decades at an alarming rate. Americans dispose of nearly half-a-million cell phones every single day. Having the ability to repair devices is critical to keeping them out of landfills. Although most issues with consumer electronics products could be resolved easily and inexpensively, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) routinely obstruct the repair process. When the manufacturer or their “authorized” service providers are the only ones that can access spare parts, service instruction or repair software, they can overcharge for repairs at their locations and even refuse to conduct certain repairs, pushing customers to buy an upgrade. Although upgrades always sound good, forcing customers into them means adding unnecessary expenses and more toxic waste polluting our environment.
More than just our ability to reuse our devices, Right to Repair would be an immense benefit to our local economy, still reeling from the devastating impacts of the pandemic. Each time consumers purchase new electronics they are almost always utilizing overseas labor, whereas each time consumers repair
electronics they are almost always utilizing local labor. AB221 could transform Nevada into the repair capital of the nation, and give tourists another benefit of visiting Las Vegas. Although it’s hard to say exactly how many, we expect the jobs benefits to be substantial. Furthermore Right to Repair would support a stronger market for used and refurbished electronics that would give lower income families an alternative to pricey retail prices and help students gain access to educational tools like laptops and webcams.
An additional environmental concern is the wasteful use of mined resources, many of which are mined in Nevada. Our state’s frontline mining communities are done a disservice when products made with these resources are treated as disposable. Furthermore, toxic heavy metals from e-waste make their way into our water sources through the runoff cycle and impose another unmitigated externality to consumers. Right to Repair would extend the lifetime of devices, create a viable market for used electronics, and reduce the need for constantly buying the newer, more expensive models. Adopting Right to Repair takes an important step for Nevada toward a more circular economy.
Some manufacturers argue that monopoly control of repairs is somehow done to protect user’s data or security, but we disagree with their claims. A group of some of the leading information security experts in the country have examined their claims, and debunked them. Security is a function of data encryption, not repair control. Expert analysis on these issues can be found at SecuRepairs.org, and we can make security experts available as a resource if you have additional questions.
Allowing small businesses to access repair essentials does not make manufacturers more vulnerable to intellectual property theft. The legislation brought forth in Nevada makes it clear that it in no way requires OEMs to divulge trade secrets. It would, however, open up the repair market to add local jobs and reduce toxic environmental waste in our communities.
For these reasons, we support passing AB221 and giving all Nevadans access to accessible, affordable repair.
Levi Kamolnick, State Director, Environment Nevada
Paul Selberg, Executive Director, Nevada Conservation League
Annette Magnus, Executive Director, Battle Born Progress
Dylan Sullivan, Senior Scientist, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council Brian Beffort, Director, Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter
John Hadder, Executive Director, Great Basin Resource Watch
Cecia Alvarado, State Director, Mi Familia Vota Nevada
Kyle Roerink, Executive Director, Great Basin water Network
Patrick Donnelly, State Director, Center for Biological Diversity