Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has occasionally been viewed with suspicion by enviros, thanks to his friendliness with the mining industry.

This should help patch things up:

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada sent a letter this week to four companies telling them not to build planned coal-burning power plants in his state.

“Because I believe that developing renewable energy in Nevada is far preferable to coal for the sake of our economy, public health and the environment, I will use every means at my disposal to prevent the construction of new coal-fired power plants in Nevada that do not capture and permanently store greenhouse gas emissions,” Reid wrote.

Reid said “the state’s demand for energy can be met largely through new renewable energy, energy efficiency and demand-side management.”

Nice.

The responses were predictable: It’s "unrealistic." Coal plants are plenty clean. The only alternatives are coal or nuclear. Etc. But for once, a major public official ignored those responses like they deserve to be ignored. Reid said in a statement:

I will oppose the construction of such plants so we can direct our full attention and resources to developing a strong renewable energy industry in Nevada. That would create thousands more jobs than these proposed coal plants and deliver clean, affordable and reliable electricity to Nevada and the whole West forever. Nevada is blessed with abundant renewable energy resources like sun, wind, and geothermal, that are much more sensible for the environment, the economy, and Nevada’s energy independence, than the dirty coal-fired power plants proposed in eastern Nevada.

He also links to this map (PDF) of where renewable energy can be found in the state.