For Immediate Release, June 15, 2020
Contact: Ainslee Archibald, (702) 473-0346, firstname.lastname@example.org
Environmental Justice Advocates Hail New Clark County Planning Effort As Opportunity for Transformation
LAS VEGAS — The Nevada Environmental Justice Coalition (NEJC) applauds today’s announcement by Clark County that it is launching a process to overhaul the County’s Master Plan and Development Code. The process, entitled Transform Clark County, will allow community input into the redesign of Clark County’s growth, which was one of the main demands that the Coalition has made of the county since its formation.
The Coalition was formed in 2019 by environmental and social justice organizations seeking equity in environmental and climate policy in Nevada. One of the main goals of the coalition was for the County to put the brakes on proposals which would facilitate new sprawl development and to commence a process to re-envision development in southern Nevada.
Sprawl development exacerbates environmental injustices by increasing air pollution, water use, and the urban heat island effect. Sprawl moves economic centers farther away from urban centers, which quickly becomes an issue due to the lack of public transportation and affordable housing in newly developed areas. This trend primarily benefits affluent and predominantly white communities and is incentivized by a regressive property tax system.
“We’re very happy the County has recognized the need for a new plan for the future,” said Ainslee Archibald, coalition coordinator for the Nevada Environmental Justice Coalition. “We’re optimistic about the introduction of this new process, and we stand prepared to mobilize our members to advocate for a climate-friendly, just future for all residents of Clark County. We look forward to re-envisioning how Clark County grows, forms community, transports its residents, and centers justice in decision making.”
The new planning process, outlined on a website from the Clark County Sustainability Department, will rewrite Clark County’s key policies and regulatory documents which govern development — the Master Plan and Development Code. Per the County’s description, there will be substantive opportunities for community members to engage and share their vision for the future, something NEJC had specifically requested.
The Coalition originally formed around the need to resist plans for new sprawl development on public lands outside of Las Vegas as proposed in the Clark County lands bill. The bill engendered tremendous controversy, as it would have charted a path forward toward environmental injustice and increased climate change impacts.
“The Clark County lands bill was the wrong approach to development in southern Nevada,” said Archibald. “If Clark County does not change the way it develops, Las Vegas may become uninhabitable with much of the consequence from poor planning falling to frontline communities, low income families, and people of color. We hope that the County’s new direction signals the end of that proposal, and a new beginning for working together for a just and climate-friendly future.”
The Nevada Environmental Justice Coalition is a coalition of 9 Nevada-based organizations united in the fight for intersectional climate and environmental justice action. The Coalition is formed of member groups Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter, Center for Biological Diversity, Mi Familia Vota, Make the Road Nevada, Sunrise Movement Las Vegas hub, Moms Clean Air Force, Ecomadres, and Great Basin Resource Watch.