It’s time once again for The Future American’s FAIL OF THE WEEK! Every Saturday, I name a person or group who has spent the past seven days behaving in a particularly idiotic way. Since it’s my belief that idiocy knows no politics, nobody is safe.
This week’s fail was brought to you by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who appears to have spent this past week trying to make himself Public Enemy #1 in the eyes of Republicans. (Diverting attention from President Obama, maybe?) We’re all familiar with his rumor about former Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R-MA) tax-paying record, with which only Reid’s trusty sidekick, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), is aligning herself. I thought his behavior couldn’t possibly get less haphazard after that. How wrong I was.
In a speech at the fifth annual National Clean Energy Summit in Vegas, Reid called for the closure of a coal-fired power plant outside the city, operated by NV Energy, the state’s top electric utility. According to Reid, this plant is responsible for respiratory and other illnesses among the 320 residents of the Moapa Band by polluting the surrounding air and letting coal ash into the nearby Muddy River. Health agencies have not verified a causal link between plant activities and the band’s health problems. NV Energy denies all charges, citing plant upgrades and its use of wind, solar and geothermal energy, which exceeds state requirements.
Reid said the company would use the threat of increased power rates to justify keeping the plant open, which they have. But they don’t need to. This plant, ironically named the Reid Gardner facility, employs 150 people. Nevada’s unemployment rate ranks 51st in the country, meaning last. (That’s when you count the District of Columbia, which ranks 45th.) That’s one of the only two attack lines anyone will ever need against this speech. The other one is “You haven’t proven this.”
We laughed when Reid called for a repeal of Nevada’s legalization of brothels out of embarrassment, despite how many tourism dollars that sector generates. That was another example of him disregarding economic considerations in favor of social ones. So far he hasn’t been able to prove that NV Energy hasn’t pulled out all the stops to make its operation as clean as possible without abandoning coal entirely. If that’s what he wants, he should just say it. The rest of us have accepted that getting coal out of the energy supply altogether will take at least one more generation.
You think the congressional earmark ban hurts Reid more than anyone else? At least earmarks could help him look like he cares about his state’s economy.