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"Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government."
-Jeremy Bentham

Dear Conservation Friends,

As our state celebrated its 100th birthday, the Arizona Legislature took a sledgehammer to many important protections, the laws that help keep our air and water cleaner and protect lands and wildlife. The House Environment Committee advanced a bill to give polluters a shield of secrecy and the House Government Committee passed a bill to undermine renewable energy and energy efficiency programs. The Senate advanced bills to give mines more exemptions from environmental protections and a bill to block native fish recovery.

It was not a total wash, there were several terrible bills that died, at least for now, because they were held and not heard in Committee. Because this was the last week for bills to be heard in the House of origin, most bills that were not heard are now dead. Don't forget, however, the Legislature can use strike-everything amendments -- totally changing a bill with an amendment -- to bring back any number of bad bills, plus legislators can amend provisions of a bill on to a related bill.

Next week is a lighter week for committee hearings, but there will be lots of bills coming to the floor, so watch for special alerts. Please take action on the bills below, even if you have previously as now we are contacting the entire body, not just the committees.

For more information on bills we are tracking, just click on Legislative Tracker.

If you no longer want to receive these updates, just zap me an email or unsubscribe by clicking on "Manage Preferences" at the bottom of the message.

Thank you for taking action and for caring about Arizona's environment.

Warm regards,
Sandy Bahr
Chapter Director
Sierra Club -- Grand Canyon Chapter
(602) 253-8633

Navajo Generating StationTAKE ACTION - Say No to Polluter Protection
Ask Your House Members to Vote NO on HB2726.

HB2726 environmental audit privilege (Carter, Fann: Crandell, et al.) is the resurrection of the "Polluter Protection Act." It allows companies to do internal audits, to keep the information, including violations of law, secret, and the information in the audit cannot be used to prosecute them for violations of law. What a deal! It rewards the most irresponsible industries. It is being pushed by the Arizona Mining Association and Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold.

Take Action!
Ask your Arizona House Members to Vote NO on HB2726 and say NO to Polluter Protection!

waterTAKE ACTION! Mines Seeking Exemptions from Water Protections.

Speaking of the mining industry, it is difficult to keep up with all the exemptions, loopholes, and opt-outs, it is attempting to create in our statutes. This week, please contact your Arizona State Senator on both of the following bills.

SB1287 aquifer protection permits: waste (Griffin: Melvin) provides additional exemptions to the mines relative to aquifer protection permits. Mines already are exempt from many environmental protections in Arizona – and it shows. The mining interests release more toxics than any other industry in our state and have contaminated our waters and lands alike, leaving the public with significant liability.

Take Action!
Ask your Senator to protect our groundwater and Vote NO on SB1287!

SB1417 mining operations; long-term storage credits
 (Griffin, Stevens: Jones, et al) is special legislation for Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., the world's largest publicly traded copper company. It allows them to accumulate long-term storage credits for Central Arizona Project water, while still pumping groundwater in the Active Management Area. In other words, this bill will allow Freeport-McMoRan to pump groundwater like crazy, while storing CAP water, and accumulating credits, so it is a double hit to our water resources.

Take Action!
Ask your Arizona Senator to Vote NO on SB1417 and say "No" to more water for mines!

smart energy nowTAKE ACTION!
Save Energy Efficiency & Solar Energy Programs
Ask Your House Members to Vote NO on HB2789.

HB2789 corporation commission rules; legislative approval (Lesko, Harper, Kavanagh, et al.) passed out of the House Government Committee along party lines . It requires the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to submit to and get approved by the legislature all rules or amendments to existing rules and policy decisions adopted after December 31, 2012, including rules mandating the use of specific sources of energy or imposing or increasing energy efficiency standards or renewable energy standards.

This bill is a blatant attempt to undermine energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, which have made significant progress at the ACC. There is strong public support for energy efficiency and renewable energy, especially distributed solar, why would the legislature want to stand in the way of advancing them? Energy efficiency and renewable energy programs are good for air and water and good for the economy, creating jobs and keeping more of our energy dollars here in Arizona.

Take Action!
Ask your Arizona House Members to Vote NO on HB2789!

Coming Up This Week at the Legislature
Don't forget that you can use the "Request to Speak" system to register your opposition or support for bills in Committee. If you would like to use the system and have not signed up, contact me and I will help you get an account set up.

Monday, February 20th

Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Transportation at 2pm in Senate Hearing Room 109

  • Executive Nomination - AZ State Parks Board - Janet Kay Daggett
  • Executive Nomination - State Transportation Board - Joseph E. LaRue
  • HB2073 emissions testing; motorcycles; extension (Weiers JP; Burges) extends the date from 2012 to 2014 for a conditional enactment of an exemption from emissions testing for motorcycles in the Phoenix area. We opposed the original exemption. Because they must get approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, they have not been able to move forward with the exemption. I expect the same will happen with this.

House Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at 2pm in House Hearing Room 4

  • SB1054 underground mines; work hours (Nelson) removes the provision in the statutes that says that underground mining is dangerous. No need to include the facts in statute, I guess. It also allows underground miners to work 12 hours. Currently they can work up to 8 hours. This is a bill for Resolution Copper Mining.

Tuesday, February 21st

The House Committee on Environment is not meeting this week.

Senate Committee on Appropriations at 2pm in Senate Hearing Room 109

  • SB1422 water quality programs; fees (Nelson) establishes that the water quality fund can be used for design review of public and semipublic swimming pools, and operator certification services, and regulation of public water systems pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act. It establishes a fund and a fee for public water systems.
  • SB1333 evaluation; response; federal law (Melvin, Allen, Griffin, et al.) establishes more government and more bureaucracy via the “Evaluation of Federal Law Council.” This council has significant separation of powers issues as it mixes the responsibilities and powers of the legislative and executive branches, plus it says the governor or an appointee of the governor can order the attorney general to take legal action. The council would look selectively at issues the Legislature does not like, including anything they think might damage the mining, timber, and ranching industries. It also would look at the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to mandate air quality standards and penalties. There is well-established case law that affirms the authority of the federal government to establish environmental laws and to impose penalties for noncompliance. Beyond that however, what does the legislature have against clean air, clean water, and recovering plants and animals that would otherwise go extinct?

Wednesday, February 22nd

House Committee on Appropriations at 2pm in House Hearing Room 1

  • HB2071 state parks; reservation surcharge fund (Kavanagh) allows state parks to keep all of the dollars in the reservation surcharge fund, rather than merely a portion. 
  • HB2332 healthy forest enterprise incentives; extension (Jones, Pancrazi: Barton, et al.) continues aspects of this program and makes a few relatively minor changes, including allowing a tax credit for training.
  • HB2493 department of water resources; funding (Jones: Crandell, Pratt) creates a joint legislative study committee to determine alternative funding mechanisms for the Arizona Department of Water Resources.
  • HCR2032 state expenditure limit (Mesnard, Farnsworth, Harper, et al.) refers to the ballot a constitutional amendment to put significant limits on the state budget. Apparently, the legislature that complains about voters tying its hands wants to tie its own hands.
Senate Committee on Water, Land Use & Rural Development at 2pm in Senate Hearing Room 3
  • Executive Nomination - Urban Planning Oversight Committee - Mark Woodson

Thursday, February 23rd

There are no committee agendas posted for Thursday yet.

To call your legislators, click on Member Roster and find their phone numbers. If you're outside the Phoenix area, you can call your legislators’ offices toll free at 1-800-352-8404. In the Phoenix area call (602) 926-3559 (Senate) or (602) 926-4221 (House) and ask them to connect you with your legislators.

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