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Vice President Kamala Harris tours Lake Mead, discusses climate change with Nevada leaders

'This is about the lake, a region and our nation'
VP Kamala Harris at Lake Mead.png
Lake Mead.PNG
Posted at 12:51 PM, Oct 18, 2021

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Vice President Kamala Harris arrived in Southern Nevada on Monday afternoon and discussed climate change amid water shortages in the state.

PREVIOUS: Vice President Kamala Harris to visit Lake Mead Monday

Harris arrived in the Las Vegas area around 11:30 a.m. at Nellis Air Force Base and was greeted by Col. Kevin Jamieson of Nellis AFB, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, Rep. Dina Titus, Rep. Susie Lee and Rep. Steven Horsford.

Harris was able to tour Lake Mead at around noon and received a briefing on the current water level at the lake, including the drought situation affecting Nevada and its surrounding states.

"That light rock represents 140 feet roughly that the lake has declined in the last 20 years. If we look more recently, this calendar year, the lake has actually dropped 20 feet just this year," a Lake Mead official told the Vice President.

RELATED: Lake Mead water level expected to continue to drop

The vice president delivered remarks along with other Nevada leaders on the effects of climate change seen in Southern Nevada.

"This climate crisis, fueled by in many, if not most ways, by human behaviors, has resulted in the moment where we're looking at this beautiful American landmark, the product of a lot of thought over generations about how we can supply, in particular the states of Nevada, Arizona, California, and including Mexico, with the water that 25 million people rely on," said Harris.

Harris also made the case for the largest investment in climate resilience in U.S. history through passing the Build Back Better Agenda and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

"When we look at what's happening here we know this is about this lake but it is about a region and about our nation. The infrastructure deal, combined with the Build Back Better Agenda is about what we need to do to invest in things like water recycling and what we can do in terms of implementation of drought contingency plans. This is about thinking ahead, recognizing where we are and where we're headed if we don't address these issues with a sense of urgency," Harris said.

Daniel McEvoy, a regional climatologist with the Desert Research Institute, was happy to hear our leaders acknowledge the problem and start developing a plan to address it.

"More specifically, the fact that it was talked about that climate change and, specifically, greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change are one of the contributing factors to this drought and part of the reason why Lake Mead is so low and why there was a federal water shortage declared on the Colorado River Basin," said McEvoy.

13 Action News reached out to prominent Nevada Republicans. Knowing they would be opposed to Democratic proposals, we asked them to specifically about their plan to address the water crisis, but that didn't happen.

Adam Laxalt, the former Nevada Attorney General who's running to represent Nevada in the United States Senate, sent a statement that reads, "Kamala Harris and Joe Biden have failed Nevada families. We have the worst unemployment rate in the nation while supply chain issues and inflation have been killing our communities and destroying the Nevada dream. To make matters worse, Harris' management of our border crisis has been nothing short of disastrous as criminal illegal aliens and illicit drugs flow across our border. Harris' visit is a tone-deaf display of this administration's arrogance as they tout policies that have laid waste to our state's economy. While our absentee U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has stood by Harris and Biden at every turn, I will fight for working families and the Nevada dream as our next Senator. If Kamala Harris is as successful as our climate czar as she’s been as our border czar, we’re all doomed. It's an interesting decision for Catherine Cortez-Masto to align herself with the most incompetent Vice President in American history.”

Michael McDonald, the Chairman of the Nevada GOP, also sent a statement. It reads, "The last thing Nevadans want is for this administration to get involved with our water crisis. Whether it’s the border, Afghanistan, or the economy, everything the President and Vice President touch turns to ash. Nevada already has the highest unemployment in the country and families are being hurt by inflation every time they reach for their wallet because of this administration, and the ‘Build Back Broke’ agenda will make these problems even worse.”