August 22, 2019

Cortez Masto Delivers Remarks at Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada Clean Energy and Transportation Summit

Cortez Masto RTC Summit

“At a time when we’re staring down climate change—one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced—we can’t afford to sideline such rich, carbon-free resources.”

“We can ask people in our factories to be flexible and fast in responding to changing times—but only if we provide the kind of jobs that in turn let them build stable and successful lives.”

“We have terrific challenges in front of us, but we also have solutions that people barely dreamed of a century ago. And Nevada is to me ground zero for these dynamic new possibilities. That’s why I call it the Innovation State.”

Las Vegas, Nev. –  U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) delivered remarks at the RTC of Southern Nevada’s Clean Energy and Transportation Summit. In her remarks, the Senator emphasized the need to pursue innovative policies that increase the use of renewable technologies, reduce emissions, improve transportation infrastructure, and secure good-paying jobs for Nevadans in energy and transportation. Below are her remarks as prepared for delivery:

Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad to welcome you to the RTC Clean Energy and Transportation Summit.

And I want to thank you, Tina, and your staff for all the work that you have put into making this summit a success.

Today presents a fantastic opportunity to talk about our 21st century vision for energy and transportation in Nevada and across the country.

You’re going to be hearing from so many key players in Nevada’s green transportation landscape, from Governor Sisolak, to Representative Horsford, to people from government, industry, organized labor, utilities, and nonprofits.

I’m enormously proud of Nevada’s record as an innovator in clean and renewable energy and in transportation.

Thanks to our legislature and governor, the Silver State is committed to relying on renewables for half of our energy by 2030 and to going fully carbon free by 2050.

That means we’ve got to keep working to build a much, much bigger pipeline to funnel clean energy to residents and businesses, as well as to the transportation industry in particular.

We’re increasingly relying on electric vehicles, mass transit, and SMART cities to help us reduce congestion, decrease air pollution, strengthen our economy, and create the jobs of the future.

And to do that, we’ve got to keep fostering a capable and agile workforce here in Nevada. One that is woven into the fabric of our communities, a workforce that can in turn rely on companies that invest in their communities and provide the peace of mind of a secure job for their workers.

This is an imposing challenge, and it’s going to require everyone here today to work together to come up with innovative plans and partnerships.

That’s why I’m so glad to be joining you as you discuss fresh approaches to solve our common problems.

And I’m going to keep fighting in Washington for the policies that will help Nevadans and communities across the country find those solutions. 

To expand that clean energy pipeline, I’ve been working hard in the Senate to secure tax credits for all kinds of renewables, from microturbines to fiber-optic solar to fuel cells.

Geothermal especially is a critical part of the clean energy mix in Nevada, which has the second-largest supply of untapped geothermal energy in the nation.

At a time when we’re staring down climate change—one of the biggest challenges humanity has ever faced—we can’t afford to sideline such rich, carbon-free resources.

That’s why I’m pushing to reduce barriers to investment in renewable energy here and across the country.

When we’ve got more energy flowing into that renewable pipeline, we need to make sure people can access and leverage it.

That’s why I’ve introduced legislation to build clean energy infrastructure, including charging stations, to coordinate a national zero-emission transportation policy, and to employ green technology in schools.

And I’m proud that we’ve passed legislation I introduced to get more federal funding for electric vehicles and chargers at our nation’s airports.

But our transportation and other industries won’t be able to increase renewables and promote electric vehicles without the workforce they need.

For instance, I’ve heard directly from the Washoe County RTC that they were thrilled with their expanding fleet of electric buses—except that they lacked the EV technicians to maintain that fleet.

Nevadans can absolutely fill those roles.

But we have to work together and pioneer innovative ways to get them the training and qualifications they need, whether that’s at high school, at community colleges, through apprenticeships with organized labor, or via employer-based opportunities.

In order to fill all the positions electrifying and greening our transportation sector alone, it’s going to have to be a collaboration—we just have to come together.

And by the same token, we need to make sure the jobs workers are putting in so much effort to master are good-paying, secure opportunities that provide stable and secure pathways to the middle class.

Workers need to be treated as key parts of a larger effort.

We can ask people in our factories to be flexible and fast in responding to changing times—but only if we provide the kind of jobs that in turn let them build stable and successful lives.

This is such an exciting time to be working on the issues of energy and transportation, and that’s why I’m so proud to serve on the Senate Committees responsible for renewable energy, conservation, transit, and innovative financing. Through my seats on the Senate Committee’s on Energy and Natural Resources, Banking and Finance, I’m fighting alongside you in Washington.

We have terrific challenges in front of us, but we also have solutions that people barely dreamed of a century ago.

And Nevada is to me ground zero for these dynamic new possibilities. That’s why I call it the Innovation State.

The opportunities that you all dream of today are going to be the realities across the nation in a decade or two.

So with that, I’ll let you get down to the discussion and conversation that we’re all here for.

Thank you so much for your ideas, your energy, and your commitment to building a greener, more dynamic, and more resilient Nevada.

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