Reid: If next president must address climate crisis by executive order, so be it

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If Congress can’t or won’t do it, a Democratic president must tackle the climate crisis by executive order, Harry Reid said Wednesday.

The former Nevada Democratic senator said his party has a strong — and improving — chance of winning control of the Senate next year while retaining control of the House, making aggressive climate crisis legislation “doable.”

However, if there’s a Democratic president yet Republicans still control the Senate,”we’ve learned over the last few years … there’s a lot that can be done, legally, with executive orders.”

“So we need a Democratic president so that can be done at least,” Reid said.

Reid made his remarks during a call with reporters in advance of a CNN presidential candidate forum on climate change Wednesday.

Reid pointed to Donald Trump’s use of executive orders as evidence that a president can make sweeping changes by executive order — for good or ill.

“Until this man is out of the presidency, there’s no telling what he’s going to do by executive order,” Reid said.

Trump has been criticized for multiple executive actions that roll back environmental protections.

“Today he’s getting rid of light bulbs,” Reid said, referring to the administration’s Wednesday announcement to eliminate rules mandating more efficient energy-saving light-bulbs.

Reid reiterated that he will not endorse any of the Democratic presidential candidates prior to Nevada’s February caucus, but he has reviewed their climate policy plans..

“I’m impressed that all of them without exception are good,” he said.

“The ones that have been given to me are much the same,” he added.

Reid called the climate crisis “the greatest threat facing our planet today,” and emphasized Nevada is already being hit particularly hard by climate disruption, as evidenced by reports that Las Vegas is the nation’s fastest warming city, and hotter summers are leading to more heat-related deaths in Southern Nevada.

Reid reiterated the position he declared last month that climate legislation is the most pressing reason the Senate should get rid of the filibuster.

“What kind of a country do we have, if we’re a democracy, and it takes 60 votes to pass anything?” 

It is not a question of if the filibuster gets “wiped out,” but when, Reid said, predicting it’s going to happen in the next Congress “without any doubt.”

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.

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