Senate Democratic leader Reid is a friend to the mining industry

Sen. Harry Reid, the new leader of the Senate Democrats, knows full-well that his home state of Nevada isn’t a liberal or environmental stronghold. Thus he has had to balance his party’s political agenda with his state’s economic interests, and one of those big interests is mining. Reid has repeatedly fought environmental regulation of the mining industry while championing its access to public lands, and the senator relies on the industry for political and financial backing. But despite this lacuna in his eco-credentials, Reid is on board with other planks of the Democrats’ environmental agenda, most notably opposition to the proposed nuke-waste facility at Yucca Mountain in his state. Although her group doesn’t always agree with him, says Sierra Club legislative director Debbie Sease, “Harry Reid over the years has been a very strong, solid friend of the environment.” Just not necessarily those bits of the environment with shiny, valuable resources beneath them.