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KUNR Today: Nevada joins initiative to prioritize use of electric trucks and buses

A zero emissions bus is driving down a street.
Courtesy Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County via Facebook

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Friday, April 1, 2022.

Nevada joins initiative to prioritize use of electric trucks and buses
By Gustavo Sagrero

Governor Steve Sisolak signed a memorandum of understanding, adding Nevada to a list of 17 states, D.C. and Quebec, for an initiative to promote the use of electric trucks and buses.

The goal is to identify and lower barriers to make the use of electrified medium and heavy-duty trucks widespread. The inter-state group will look at things like financial incentives and better infrastructure for charging stations.

The initiative also points to using electrical vehicles specifically in cities, with the goal to have cleaner air. That includes using electrified public transit buses.

A mix of fossil fuels and electric buses are currently used throughout Nevada. Transportation is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Nevada gun manufacturer’s license is revoked after lawsuit
By The Associated Press

Federal officials have revoked the license of a Nevada-based gun manufacturer that was accused of illegally selling guns and went bankrupt but then rebranded itself. The revocation comes after a lawsuit alleged the Justice Department didn’t conduct proper oversight before issuing the license.

The decision to revoke the license of JA Industries was spelled out in a court filing Wednesday as part of the lawsuit brought by Illinois; Kansas City, Missouri; and gun control advocate Everytown for Gun Safety. The lawsuit alleged the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives awarded the license to JA Industries after it violated firearms law. JA Industries hasn’t returned a message seeking comment.

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides funding to clean pollution from abandoned mines, oil wells
By Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $16 billion for cleaning up abandoned mines and oil wells, and the Interior Department will distribute that money to state and tribal governments.

Steve Feldgus is with the department. On Thursday, he took questions from members of Congress about how the funding will be used. He said they’re already distributing money to reclaim abandoned mines in several states and the Navajo Nation, but Feldgus said before they can help tribal governments clean up old oil wells on their lands, they’ll have to get an accurate count.

“So, we’ve been getting a lot of feedback; we’ve been talking to these tribes consistently, but I will say that, no, we do not have a good sense of how many orphan wells there are on tribal land,” Feldgus said.

Orphan wells don’t have a responsible party that can be required to pay for clean up, so state and tribal governments had been forced to use their own funds to make them safe. The federal government estimates there are roughly 130,000 orphan wells on state and private lands as well as tens of thousands on federal lands.

Latino advisory council launched by Sisolak for Governor campaign
By Nick Stewart

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak is making a bid for Latino votes in his reelection campaign.

The Sisolak campaign announced Thursday a council comprised of Latino leaders, activists and business people from across the state. More than a quarter of the state identifies as Latino.

The Latino Advisory Council will advise Sisolak on key issues that the Latino community faces in Nevada. Members of this council include a mayor, teacher and a reproductive justice leader.

Sisolak faces several Republican challengers in the race for governor, including Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, Reno attorney Joey Gilbert, former U.S. Senator Dean Heller, North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee, businessman Guy Nohra, among others.

A California first: woman signs bill into state law
By The Associated Press

A woman has signed a bill into California state law for the first time in history. Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis signed two laws on Thursday. Kounalakis was filling in for Gov. Gavin Newsom, who left the state on Wednesday for a family vacation. State law requires Kounalakis to act as governor until Newsom returns.

The state Legislature passed a bill on Thursday that extended eviction protections for some renters until the end of June. Kounalakis, the state’s first woman lieutenant governor, said it was “humbling” and that she felt a sense of history. Kounalakis is one of several women who could run for governor in 2026.

Communities across the Mountain West show support for Ukraine
By Dave Rosenthal, Mountain West News Bureau

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is now in its second month, and people across the Mountain West have been creative in supporting Ukrainians — in large and small ways.

As soon as the invasion began, state officials looked for ways to respond. Public pension funds moved to take money out of Russian banks and companies. More recently, Colorado collected hundreds of ballistic helmets and sets of body armor from police to ship overseas.

But the response is much broader. Some is symbolic — like illuminating the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign in yellow and blue or dotting Reno’s Believe sign with sunflowers, the official flower of Ukraine.

Folks in the region also are contributing money. The New Mexico Actors Lab raised $5,000 with a poetry reading, and the Lander Bake Shop in Wyoming has a gallery of sunflower art. The Maverik gas station chain is also donating $50,000 and collecting spare change from customers for the Red Cross.

Produced with assistance from the Public Media Journalists Association Editor Corps funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

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