With the economy as the leading issue in every campaign, Heller and other Republicans who back federal support for renewables have so far couched it as an important part of recovery efforts.
“Renewable-energy development could lead to thousands of new jobs in Nevada at a time when the state leads the nation in unemployment,” Heller campaign spokeswoman Chandler Smith told Politico.
That’s a tack voters will respond to and reward, said Rocky Fernandez, the communications director at the Clean Energy Project, a statewide advocacy group.
“The candidates who want to do things and step up and make these industries thrive in Nevada, they’re the ones who are going to be successful in these upcoming elections,” Fernandez said. “If we don’t do it, other states are going to take it and we’ll have missed a huge opportunity.”
However, not everyone is buying it.
“Voters aren’t buying appointed Sen. Dean Heller’s election year scramble to paper over his pro-Big Oil, abysmal record on renewable-energy jobs,” Berkley campaign spokesman Eric Koch said. “Instead of making clean-energy job creation in Nevada a priority, Heller has spent his Washington career voting to protect taxpayer giveaways to Big Oil companies already making record profits.”
Berkley’s campaign has a stockpile of ammo countering Heller’s claim to be a leader in clean energy, from votes in Congress against certain renewable-energy and energy-efficiency measures to a 2008 letter questioning the cost-effectiveness of alternative sources of energy.
But hey, don't just buy what Shelley Berkley's campaign is saying. Take a look at Desert Beacon's scoreboard of actual House votes taken.
For example, Heller had two shots at voting in favor of H.R. 6 (the Energy Act) in 2007, and voted “nay” both times. He also voted against H.R. 2776 and H.R. 3221, the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act. Representative Berkley voted in favor of these bills. He voted against H.R. 5351 (Energy Law Amendments) on February 27, 2008, and against H.R. 6049 (Alternative Energy Tax Incentives) on May 21, 2008. Representative Berkley voted in favor of these measures.
On July 23, 2008 he did vote “yes” on H.R. 3221 (Housing Bill with Energy Tax Credit Extensions) and then voted “no” on H.R. 7060 (Renewable Energy Credits & other business and individual credits) on September 26, 2008. Congresswoman Berkley voted in favor of H.R. 7060. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) which contained green energy and energy conservation programs got no support from then-Representative Heller in 2009. Nor did Representative Heller support the “Cash for Clunkers” bill to incentivize consumers to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles (H.R. 2751) on June 9, 2009.
On September 16, 2010, Heller voted against H.R. 4785 which would have authorized loans for energy efficiency purposes. Representative Berkley voted in favor of H.R. 4785.
Given this voting record it is difficult to place Senator Heller among the choir of voices calling for energy conservation, energy technology, and alternative energy source development.
You see, Dean Heller's actual record not as "green" as he wants us to believe. Rather, he and his BFFs in the fossil fuel industry are "green-washing" his record. In fact, Heller has voted consistently for taxpayer funded bailouts for Big Oil while rejecting investment in renewable energy jobs that can help Nevada's economy while also helping our nation conquer the climate crisis. Dean Heller may tell one story to the media, but his actual record tells an entirely different story.
Sure, Heller is now trying to distance himself from the national G-O-TEA leadership. He has to. His BFF Willard "Mr. 1%" Romney is sounding increasingly insane and delusional when he bashes clean energy, along with Romney's BFF Rush Limbaugh. Heller realizes that the Romney-Limbaugh-"Tea Party" agenda of funneling more taxpayer dollars at the fossil fuel industry while passing up clean energy opportunities just doesn't fly here in Nevada.
But as much as Dean Heller tries to run from his own record, he can't really hide. It's still there for all of us to see. And his long time G-O-TEA buddies on Capitol Hill are making sure that we don't forget who Heller & Co. really serve. Nevadans aren't about to be fooled by a quick "green-washing".