RENO, Nev. A group of renewable-energy supporters rallied Saturday in Reno against plans to build three coal-fired power plants in eastern Nevada near the Utah border.
Speakers urged Gov. Jim Gibbons, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto and other local and state officials to join Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in opposing the use of coal and supporting development of alternative energy sources.
They said coal-fired plants spew out pollutants that contribute to global warming, and a shift to renewable energy would create jobs in a state rich in geothermal, solar and wind power.
"As a mother, I am concerned about mortgaging our children's energy future with polluting coal plants instead of investing into positive renewable energy resources," said Sara Bruso of the Nevada Clean Energy Campaign. "Nevadans are looking to (Gibbons and Masto) for leadership on this."
About 50 people gathered at the downtown's Brick Park for the rally. They placed pictures of windmills and solar panels into a plastic "pot of gold" as a symbol of the bright future the new technologies promise for Nevada.
The rally comes as Sierra Pacific Resources, Dynegy-LS Power Group and Sithe Global Power are pursuing separate plans to build the coal plants near Ely and Mesquite.
Gibbons, a Republican, has said the proposed coal plants will burn cleaner than older plants and are crucial for economic development.
Demonstrators urged Masto, a Democrat, to recommend a suspension of state proceedings on the plants.
"Senator Reid has already taken a strong stand on this, and our state and local officials should do the same," said state Demographer Jeff Hardcastle, who spoke as a private citizen.
David von Seggern of the Sierra Club praised the Reno City Council's recent resolution encouraging the use of solar power in city buildings.
Coal plants provide just over half of the nation's electricity. They also are the largest domestic source of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, emitting 2 billion tons annually, about a third of the country's total.