Moapa tribal leader who led charge against Reid Gardner coal plant dies at 44

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Leila Navidi

William Anderson, Chairman of the Moapa Band of the Paiutes, participates during a Carbon to Clean Energy Roundtable at the Clark County Commission Chambers in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 13, 2012.

Wed, Jan 31, 2018 (9:30 p.m.)

A longtime environmental advocate who played a crucial role in shutting down one of the last remaining coal power plants in Nevada died last week.

William Milton Anderson, a former Moapa Band of Paiutes tribal chairman, died at his home Sunday at age 44.

Anderson became one of the youngest chairmen ever when he took over at age 26. During his second term as chairman he helped change the energy and environmental landscape of the Southwest.

His environmental lobbying helped lead to the closing of the Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant, owned by NV Energy. It was located just a few hundred yards from Moapa tribal housing.

Ever the passionate activist, Anderson led a three-day, 50-mile march from the Reid Gardner coal plant to downtown Las Vegas in 2012, calling for the plant to close.

The Moapa Band of Paiutes joined a coalition of environmental organizations and clean energy businesses successfully lobbying for the passage of Senate Bill 123, NV Energy's plan to divest from the coal business and reduce carbon emissions, during the 2013 Nevada Legislature. After the legislation was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Moapa Band of Paiutes was awarded $5 Million in a settlement with NV Energy.

Anderson helped secure a power purchase agreement with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to build a 250-megawatt solar power plant on the reservation. The solar plant, that went live in March, is the first large-scale solar power plant built on tribal land in the country. The agreement between LADWP, First Solar and the tribe was for $1.6 billion over 20 years.

Anderson also spearheaded efforts to protect Gold Butte, resulting in then-President Barack Obama designating the area a national monument in 2016.

Aside from his governmental and environmental work, Anderson was a graphic artist who sold his designs on clothing at gatherings across the West.

Anderson is survived by his mother, Shirley Anderson; his sisters Launa Lane, Monica Surrett, Docian Molden and Betty Henry; and his son Logan Anderson, 8, of Moapa.

Funeral services will be held Friday, with a viewing at 1 p.m. and service at 2 p.m. at the Moapa Tribal Administrative Building at 1 Lincoln Street in Moapa.

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