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  "Look deep, deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
~ Albert Einstein 

February 21, 2014

Dear Conservation Friends,

Environmental Day 2014 by Rep Andrew Sherwood
       Environmental Day at the Capitol -
       advocates in the House Gallery
       credit: Rep. Andrew Sherwood

It was an extremely busy week at the Arizona Legislature. We had a successful Environmental Day at the Capitol on Tuesday with more than 150 people participating from 24 different legislative districts. Thank you to all who came and to everyone who helped. It was a huge success. I am sorry that some legislators did not make the time for you, but the fact that you were there did make a difference.

Yesterday, the Arizona Senate passed the repeal of the referendum on the bad elections bill from last year 17-12-1. Senators substituted and passed HB2196 election law amendments; repeal (Farnsworth), which had previously passed in the House, so it is on its way to the Governor, who, I am sure, will sign it. This means the referendum will not be on the ballot and the voters will not have an opportunity to send a strong message to the Legislature to stop messing with our important constitutional rights, including voting rights and the right to citizen initiatives. We will have to watch legislators closely as they may try to reenact various aspects of the bill that was the subject of the referendum, including the provisions on voter suppression.

SCR1006 Mexican wolf; population rule (Griffin), a resolution that contains inaccurate information and inflammatory language on wolves, passed the Senate 18-11-1. It states that the legislature opposes additional wolf introductions in Arizona and New Mexico, unless it is determined the wolves cannot be introduced in northern Mexico, and it says the legislature supports killing wolves that have harassed or killed livestock, pets, or people. Including people on the list with livestock and pets is a bit over the top. Wolves are not harassing, harming, or killing people. The other two anti-wolf bills will be voted on in the Senate early next week.

Speaking of endangered species, at the last minute and with special permission from the Speaker of the House, Andy Tobin, the House Committee on Federalism and Fiscal Responsibility heard two terrible bills, including one on endangered species.

Black-footed ferret (Photo by Scott Sprague)
  credit: Scott Sprague

HB2699 endangered species programs; rescission; reimbursement
(Thorpe, Stevens: Gowan, et al.) prohibits the Arizona Game and Fish and Department from participating in most, if not all, reintroduction programs under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It goes on to say that all species of wildlife that were introduced under programs that were not cooperatively implemented and offspring of the wildlife must be removed by January 1, 2015. Under the definition of cooperatively implemented provided in this bill, it would mean that Arizona Game and Fish could participate in very few, if any, of the reintroduction programs. These include programs for reintroduction and recovery of California condors, black-footed ferrets, Mexican gray wolves, and many native fish species.

Take Action!
Please ask your representatives to vote NO on HB2699. Don't weaken protections for endangered species!


SB1227 municipalities; counties; energy efficient codes (Crandell) prohibits cities, towns, and counties from adopting any mandatory energy efficiency, energy conservation, or green building codes -- all or in part. This is a terrible bill that would hinder local efforts to reduce electricity and water use and save taxpayers' dollars. It did not advance this past week, but watch for it next week as they will be advancing a lot of bills on the floor.

Take Action!
Please ask your senator to oppose SB1227 and any other efforts to weaken energy efficiency codes.

Wolf pup (Photo courtesy of USFWS)
  credit: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Speak up for Wolves!
As noted above, it is likely that these two bills to impede Mexican gray wolf recovery will be voted on this coming week, so please take action, even if you have already. Let your senator know that wolves and other imperiled wildlife are important to you --77 percent of Arizonans support wolf recovery.

SB1211 Mexican wolf; taking; reporting (Griffin, Burges, D. Farnsworth, et al.) permits an employee of the Arizona Department of Agriculture to kill any wolf that has killed or is killing livestock, if there is an agreement between the agency and US Fish and Wildlife to that effect.
SB1212 appropriation; wolf recovery; litigation costs (Griffin, Burges, Crandell, et al.) appropriates $250,000 for state litigation to impede federal efforts to recover Mexican wolves.

Take Action!

Please ask your Senator to oppose these anti-wolf bills.


In other bad news at the Arizona Legislature, the Senate Government and Environment Committee advanced SB1478 water protection fund; mesquite; tamarisk (Griffin). It prohibits the Arizona Water Protection Fund from being used to plant mesquite, tamarisk, or high water use trees. The tamarisk part makes sense, but the rest does not. If you were doing riparian restoration as was intended for this fund, you might plant cottonwoods and willows, which do use a fair amount of water. 

The Senate Commerce, Energy, and Military Committee advanced SB1402 renewable energy; definition (Melvin). It defines renewable energy to include nuclear power and specifically sources fueled by uranium fuel rods that include eighty percent or more recycled nuclear fuel and "natural thorium reactor resources under development." Clearly if you have to mine the fuel, it is not renewable.

The Senate also passed SR1003 EPA:nullification of rules (Burges, Crandell, D. Farnsworth, et al. )to support repealing all Environmental Protection Agency rules. Apparently, the majority of our senators (18-11-1) are not fans of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act, or the many benefits they provide.

To find our more about the bills we are tracking, click on Legislative Tracker. Below are the committee agendas for this week. It is a light week as they will be discussion a lot of the bills on the floor of each house.

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.

Remember, if you want to use the "Request to Speak" system this session to sign in on bills, you will need to set up a new account. Please contact me if you are interested in doing that. If you do so, you can register your support or opposition to a bill from your home computer. You need not actually speak on the bill. You can only register your support our opposition through this system when the bills are in committee.

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


Coming Up This Week at the Legislature 

Monday, February 24th

Senate Committee on Government and Environment at 2:00 P.M. or when Floor adjourns in Senate Hearing Room 3

  • Executive Nominations:
  •  Oliver J. Horton - Arizona Navigable stream adjudication Commission
    Scott S. Wakefield - Water Quality Appeals Board

  • HB2223 water infrastructure finance authority; continuation (Fann, Borrelli, Dardenas, et al.) continues this authority until July 2022. The Water Infrastructure Finance Authority funds water infrastructure projects.

House Committee on Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources is not meeting this week.

Tuesday, February 25th

Senate Committee on Appropriations at 2:00 P.M. in Senate Hearing Room 109

  • SB1484 tax credit; manufacturers; renewable energy (Worsley, Pierce: McComish) creates individual and corporate tax credits for investment in new renewable energy facilities that produce energy primarily for manufacturing. We may be able to support this, although the biomass provisions could be better, but want to know a little more about it. Tax credits have great potential for abuse, if the programs are not crafted carefully with proper safeguards in place. MONITOR.

Senate Committee on Elections is not meeting.

Senate Committee on Transportation at 2:00 P.M. in Senate Hearing Room 3

  •  Presentation by the Maricopa Association of Governments

Wednesday, February 26th

Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Rural Affairs at 9:00 A.M. in Senate Hearing Room 109
  • Presentation by Dean Burgess from the University of Arizona School of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • HB2015 archaeology advisory commission; continuation (Ugenti) continues this commission until 2017. The commission aids the historic preservation officer relative to archaeological issues.
House Committee on Appropriations at 2:00 P.M. in House Hearing Room 1
  • HB2618 uninsured vehicles; impounding (Livingston) will have a strike everything on legislative appropriation; federal monies that gives the legislature authority to appropriate certain federal monies that come to Arizona. OPPOSE.
  • HB2651 clean elections funding (Kavanagh) provides several changes to the Clean Elections funding that further the purpose of clean elections. SUPPORT.
Thursday, February 27th

There are only a few agendas posted for Thursday and no environmental bills are scheduled for that day.

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 to connect with your legislators.

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