"If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water." – Loran Eisely, The Immense Journey, 1957
Dear Conservation Friends,
Thank you to everyone who participated in Environmental Day at the Capitol on Tuesday! We had a great turnout -- about 120 people who met with legislators from 25 districts. There was a lot of juggling of schedules, but most people got to meet at least one of their legislators. I heard from several legislators and staff about their meetings with environmental advocates. Thank you to Senator Farley and Representative Campbell for taking time to speak to us. We even got a shout out from both floors. Outstanding!
This past week, the Legislature had a hearing on regional haze during which the utilities and others tried to argue that cleaning up these coal plants would have no impact on public health -- try telling that to the people who live in the shadow of these plants. SCR1012 EPA Actions; Haze, which supports the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality's weak plan and opposes the stronger Environmental Protection Agency plan, will likely be heard on the floor this coming week. Here is our statement in support of cleaning up dirty coal-fired power plants.
The Arizona Legislature seems determined to make it more difficult for people to vote and more difficult to hold the legislative branch of government accountable via the initiative process. Senator Michelle Reagan, in preparation for her run for Secretary of State, is promoting a plethora of bad bills. Please see the agenda below, which only contains a few of the bills. There are also numerous bad bills in the House. Ironically, they are proposing bills to make it easier for candidates. Hmmm.
This week, please contact members of the Senate Government and Environment Committee and ask them to oppose SB1403 United National Rio Declaration; prohibition (Burges,
Crandell, Griffin, et al.) It says that no government entity in Arizona
can adopt or implement any of the tenets or principles relating to the
U.N. Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the Statement of
Principles for Sustainable Development. It could actually hinder efforts to improve energy efficiency, water conservation, and other important measures.
Tell Senators to Oppose SB1403 and to protect sustainability programs!
The Arizona Public Service Company (APS) proposal to expand last year's "Polluter Protection Act" may move forward with some amendments. It is currently held up in Rules. Keep the messages coming. Unless they address the secrecy provisions, it will still protect bad actors by providing secrecy relative to violations of public health and safety laws. What is it that APS needs to hide?
Please let representatives in the Arizona House know you oppose the bill, HB2485 health and safety audit privilege (Carter,
Stevens: Barton, et al.) It allows audits that are conducted for compliance with a health or safety law to be kept secret and prohibits use of the audit in
legal and administrative proceedings. This gives companies and government a way to
keep the public from knowing about major violations of law. These types
of bills encourage cozy relationships between businesses and the
so-called regulators and put at risk public health and safety.
Please urge House members to vote no on HB2485!
If you are registered in the Request to Speak system, please sign in again opposed to HB2338 in Committee. The bill was held this past week. You need not be there or speak, but just sign in to register your opposition. Click on Request to Speak and then enter your user name and password and click on the House of Representatives. After that enter the bill number, HB2338, and you will see the screen for registering your opposition. If you are not registered in the system and would like to be, just let me know and I will get you registered. You can also weigh in on any of the other bills listed below.
HB2338 regional water augmentation authorities (Tobin,
Barton) contains no provisions to promote water conservation or creative solutions to water needs. Instead it promotes the same old idea to just go get water somewhere else. This bill creates "Regional Water Augmentation
Authorities” (RWAAs), quasi-political subdivisions, to finance, construct, and operate water
supply development projects. There is virtually no public participation
in the formation of RWWAs, little opportunity to meaningfully oppose the
formation of an RWWA, and almost no regulatory oversight. HB2338 creates less transparent ways to facilitate projects such as
the Big Chino Water Ranch pipeline project or even the terrible development in Tusayan near Grand Canyon. Enacting new laws that enable
greater privatization and control over water development in Arizona is a
step in the wrong direction.
For more information on bills we are tracking, you can view our 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.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions about the Legislature or other environmental issues and I welcome you to join me at the Capitol. Thank you for taking action and for caring about Arizona's environment.
Sierra Club – Grand Canyon Chapter
Coming Up This Week at the Legislature
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 18th
Senate Committee on Government & Environment upon adjournment of the Floor (around 2:00 p.m.) in Senate Hearing Room 1
- SB1266 illegal dumping; penalties (McGuire, Cajero Bedford, Gallardo, et al.) establishes a fine of at least $1,800 for a person who illegally dumps trash and requires evidence of proper disposal if an individual is required to remove it. The person who dumps the trash can be held liable for costs of clean up incurred by the owner of the property. SUPPORT.
- SB1403 United National Rio Declaration; prohibition (Burges, Crandell, Griffin, et al.) See above. OPPOSE.
- SB1463 counties; flood districts; rules (Griffin, Burges, Gallardo, et al. ) establishes additional procedures for rule making at the county level. MONITOR.
- SB1464 mining advisory council; membership (Griffin, Burges, Gowan, et al. ) adds members to the committee, which is charged with reviewing mining policy and reviewing, advising and making recommendations to state agencies on proposed rules and budget allocations that affect mining operations. The mines are exempt from many laws and there is very little accountability under state law already, so it is hard to see how this committee could make things worse, but we never underestimate their ability to find another exemption they "need." NO POSITION.
House Committee on Energy, Environment & Natural Resources at 2:00 p.m. in House Hearing Room 4
- HB2181 technical correction; Highway user revenues (Fann)
will have a strike everything amendment on state parks department;
continuation. It will continue the State Parks Department for another 10 years. This is a standard continuation bill. SUPPORT.
- HB2296 underground storage tank program (Pratt) continues the tax on gasoline and the fund for cleaning up underground storage tanks. Private insurance should be picking up the tab for leaky tanks at this point, but apparently, there are still a number of orphan tanks sites that need to be addressed and insurance companies are still not ponying up the way they should. We may support this, but are currently evaluating it. REVIEWING.
- HCM2003 copper mining; support (Shope, Coleman, Gowan, et al.) is a message to Congress asking that the Congress pass the land swap for Resolution Copper aka Rio Tinto. This exchange is a huge rip-off of the public and will result in the privatization and destruction of Oak Flat and will likely dewater Devil's Canyon, cause significant land subsidence, and destroy important cultural and environmental values of the area. OPPOSE.
- HB2584 renewable energy and conservation districts (Sherwood, Orr) allows for the formation of renewable energy and energy conservation districts to promote the installation of solar roof-tops and energy and efficiency and water saving measures and provides a mechanism for financing them. SUPPORT.
- HB2594 local transportation assistance fund; restoration (Orr, Fann, Wheeler, et al.) reinstates the Local Transportation Assistance Fund (LTAF), which helps to fund transit services, and also the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund, which funds parks programs, environmental education, trails, historic preservation, and more. Both of these were funded out of the lottery revenues and were eliminated in the FY2011 budget. Under this bill, both funds would receive their original allocations -- LTAF would receive $9 million per year and Heritage Fund $10 million per year. SUPPORT.
Tuesday, February 19th
Senate Committee on Elections at 2:00pm in Senate Hearing Room 1
- SB1262 campaign finance limits; recall election (Reagan) limits the transfer of dollars between committees if the committee is established for a recall. NO POSITION.
- SB1263 paid circulators; statewide measures; recall (Reagan: Driggs) requires that all paid circulators be registered with the Secretary of State, but does not include paid circulators who circulate candidate petitions. Why not? It seems like they are just trying to make it next to impossible to get any measure on the ballot. There have been a lot more issues with fraud relative to candidate signatures, but they seem to ignore that. A comprehensive approach to improve the initiative, referendum, and recall process is appropriate. A piecemeal approach to erect impediments is not. OPPOSE.
- SB1274 elections; early ballots; return deadline (Crandell: Burges, Melvin, et al.) requires early ballots to be turned in the week before the election. This is just one more of many measures to suppress voter turnout. It is really sad to see the Arizona Legislature focus on keeping people from voting, making it as difficult as possible, instead of doing everything to facilitate voting, which is the foundation for our system of government. OPPOSE.
- SB1371 municipal elections; ballot; disclosure (Griffin, Stevens: Gowan) requires the ballot to include an estimate of the annual levy of property taxes sufficient to pay the debt on the bonds for any bond election and the tax increase for any sales tax levy. NO POSITION.
- SB1416 new party; initiatives; signature collection (Reagan) makes it more difficult to establish a new party by requiring signatures from at least five different counties. REVIEWING.
- SCR1019 initiative; referendum; signature allocation (Reagan) requires signatures for a ballot measure to be collected from at least five counties and says that a minimum of 40 percent must be collected from other than Maricopa and Pima counties. This would make it nearly impossible to put measures on the ballot. OPPOSE.
House Committee on Agriculture & Water at 2:00pm in House Hearing Room 5
- HB2338 regional water augmentation authorities (Tobin, Barton) facilitates the same old solution regarding water in Arizona -- go get water somewhere else instead of using conservation or innovative augmentation. See above for more details. OPPOSE.
- HB2621 fund; state parks; roads; fee (Escamilla, Cardenas, Contreras, et al.) establishes an optional fee when you register your vehicle. The fee would help fund the state parks system and anyone who paid it would get a decal and be allowed to visit state parks for free. SUPPORT.
House Committee on Federalism & Fiscal Responsibility at 2:00pm in House Hearing Room 1
- HB2233 special audit; voter protected measures (Stevens, Smith, Thorpe) requires a special audit of all voter-protected measures. Apparently they think people will provide less support for these measures, but the bottom line is people support funding schools, health care, and conservation. MONITOR.
- HB2444 technical correction; power authority; water (Olson) will have a strike everything amendment on energy generation projects; financing. This amendment has not been posted, but I expect it to be a bad one.
- HCR2021 state expenditure limit (Kwasman, Livingston, Mesnard, et al.) refers to the ballot a significant limit on the state budget. This is unwise and has not worked well elsewhere, including in Colorado, where they actually suspended the initial measure they passed to limit the budget. The state must already have a balanced budget. OPPOSE.
- HCR2033 funding ballot measures; reauthorization (Stevens) requires all ballot measures to be reauthorized every eight years and would refer everything to the next general election. This has been proposed repeatedly and is intended to give the people less of a voice and to limit the our rights to initiate laws. OPPOSE.
Senate Committee on Transportation at 2:00pm in Senate Hearing Room 3
- SB1197 vehicle mileage tax; electric vehicles (Farley; Hobbs) imposes a vehicle tax of one cent per mile on electric vehicles. While the intent is positive, this would just discourage electric vehicles. OPPOSE.
SB1344 highway construction projects; JCCR review (Shooter, Pancrazi: Burges, et al.) requires projects that cost more than $15 million to be reviewed by the Joint Committee on Capital Review. This seems okay. Additional review is likely a good thing. MONITOR.
House Committee on Government at 2:00pm in House Hearing Room 4
- HB2320 rules; statutory review; state agencies (Farnsworth) requires agencies to review rules and statutes every five years and to decide if "market forces" or other rules will adequately address public health and safety, etc. It appears to be intended to weaken enforcement of laws, including those to protect public health and safety. OPPOSE.
- HB2322 rule making; restrictions (Farnsworth) restricts agencies from rulemaking unless it purely ministerial and that is consistent with the statutory delegation. I am not sure what the overall implications of this are, but it appears to limit actions to protect public health, safety, and the environment.
Wednesday, February 20th
Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Rural Affairs at 8:45am in Senate Hearing Room 109
Senate Committee on Commerce, Energy & Military at 9:00am in Senate Hearing Room 1
- Executive Nominations - Arizona State Parks Board - Mark Brnovich, Richard J. Cardin, Jr.
- Executive Nomination - Residential Utility Consumer Office - Patrick James Quinn, Director
- Presentation by Maricopa Association of Governments
Senate Committee on Public Safety at 2:00pm in Senate Hearing Room 109
Thursday, February 21st
Senate Committee on Government & Environment upon adjournment of the Floor in Senate Hearing Room 3
There will likely be more committee hearings and more bills added as this is the last week to hear bills in the House of origin, meaning House bills must be heard in the House Committees and Senate Bills must be heard in the Senate Committees.
- SB1469 applying aquatic poisons (Griffin) requires Arizona Game and Fish to jump through some hoops to do native fish recovery, which includes eliminating non-native fishes with the use of rotenone and antimycin A. This bill is not intended to protect public health. If it was, it would apply to pesticides and herbicides that have known public health impacts. Instead, it is intended to stop or significantly hinder native fish recovery. OPPOSE.
- SCM1001 technical correction; urging the president (Griffin) will have a strike everything amendment on the Clean Air Act. The strike everything amendment is not yet posted but you can bet on the fact that it will not be encouraging improving air quality.