Nevada Supreme Court refuses to re-open battle over tax on coal imports

The Nevada Supreme Court has unanimously refused to re-open the battle over whether NV Energy is entitled to refunds on taxes paid for imported coal the utility burns in two Nevada power plants.

The court ruled unanimously in December the state Taxation Department was correct in imposing the use tax on those coal imports because the clear intent of the statute was to protect local mines.

The December opinion stated there was no interstate discrimination in this case “and NV Energy demonstrated no deprivation as a result of the statute’s enforcement.”

That adopted the argument by Chief Deputy Attorney General Gina Sessions the utility was demanding “a multi-million dollar refund based on a purely hypothetical injury.”

She pointed out there’s no discrimination in this case because no coal is produced in Nevada.

The court also held NV Energy was not entitled to the $25 million in refunds sought in the lawsuit.

The utility filed the lawsuit arguing imposing the use tax on imported coal violated the Commerce Clause by treating out-of-state coal differently that it would in-state coal.

NV Energy burns coal to generate power in its southern Nevada Reid-Gardner plant and at Valmy in northern-central Nevada. It imports coal for that purpose by the train load.

The seven members of the court this past week denied NV Energy’s petition asking for a rehearing of the case.


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