Senate majority leader Harry Reid said it was time to close one of the coal power plants in his home state of Nevada, calling it a "dirty relic."
Speaking at the National Clean Energy Summit 5.0: The Power of Choice on Tuesday, he said the Reid Gardner Generating Station, a 557 megawatt coal fired plant located near Moapa, Nevada, should be shuttered.
"About two football fields away from those smoke stacks lives a band of 300 Moapa Paiute Indians," said Reid in a prepared speech.
"Every day Reid-Gardner rains down on the dwindling Native American tribe fine particulates and coal ash filled with chemicals that cause cancer, emphysema and heart problems. The soot – and the dangerous chemicals inside it – is literally killing the Pauites. It's no secret coal plants kill. Each year, more than 24,000 deaths are attributed to emissions from coal-fired power plants in the United States alone."
Reid called for more work on shifting power to renewables.
His political opponents pushed back against the remarks. Republicans said the move will end 150 jobs in a state where the employment rate is already high.