Sierra Club: "No Good News" at Arizona Legislature

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Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club delivers her weekly bulletin recapping the week at the Legislature from the environmental perspective:

Hello all! There was no good news at 1700 West Washington this week — on anything. In the environmental realm, they continued the march backward to the 19th Century by advancing bills to ignore federal laws (keep the cash coming, but hold the clean air and clean water requirements), oppose endangered species protections, and to condemn federal public lands. Senator Jackson added an amendment to the bill that said this condemnation authority does not apply to Native American lands. Interpreted broadly, I do think that would mean the bill would not apply to any lands in Arizona.

Also advancing in the Senate was the “Big Bad Wolf” measure, the “We don’t need no stinking Clean Water” bill, and yes, the “License to Pollute.” You will be pleased to know that Senator Smith — not really a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” type — added an amendment on SB1393 to try and limit regulation of particulate emissions. Apparently he thinks we have too much clean air.

Please plan to come for Environmental Day at the Capitol. Meet legislators and advocates and hear more about what is happening at the legislature and beyond. We are focusing on Protecting Arizona’s Environment — the next 100 years, as a lead up to Arizona’s centennial next year. We will be gathering on the Senate lawn at the State Capitol on Tuesday, March 8th from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Let us know if you are coming and plan to meet with your legislators that day. We will have a brief program, displays, and cookies and lemonade.

Please take this opportunity to contact your senators one more time on the following bills. After this week, they will likely be over in the House. Also, contact House members on the anti-wolf message. It is always helpful to call, when you can, to establish a relationship with your legislators, but feel free to use the easy email links too.

Help Protect Wolves and Other Endangered Species! Ask your senator to vote no on SB1392 and SB1395. Click on Protect Wolves and other Endangered Species to s

end an email, or call the Capitol and ask to be connected to your senator’s office. 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.

Ask your House Members to vote no HCM2002. Just click on Save Mexican gray wolves or call the Arizona House and ask to be connected to your two representatives’ offices. 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) 926-4221.

SB1392 Mexican gray wolf; interstate compact (Allen, Griffin, Melvin, et al) allows the governor to enter into an interstate compact on wolves, but is clearly intended to promote removal of the wolves from the Endangered Species list, and contains many weak and ambiguous provisions. Moving in this direction will ensure the second extinction in the wild of the Mexican gray wolf.

SB1395 endangered species act; interstate compact (Allen: Gould, Klein, et al) allows the governor to enter into an interstate compact on endangered species, but is clearly intended to undercut and supplant the Endangered Species Act. It would make it illegal for a government official to enforce federal laws or regulations relating to endangered species in the state of Arizona. It also contains many weak and ambiguous provisions. The strength of the ESA has always been its commitment to science. It helps to focus wildlife management and conservation on science with biologists and wildlife managers driving the recovery efforts, rather than politics.

HCM2002 remove gray wolf; endangered species (JP Weiers, Ash, Fann, et al) asks the U.S. Congress to act immediately to remove protections for these endangered wolves under the Endangered Species Act. It contains a great deal of inaccurate information about wolves and about wolf recovery.

Contact your Senator and ask him or her to vote no on a “License to Pollute” - SB1393 greenhouse emissions; legislative authority (Allen: Gould, Griffin, et al) and SB1394 greenhouse substances; freedom to breathe (Allen: Griffin, Reagan, et al).

SB1393 says the state legislature is the only entity that can regulate human-caused carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions and now includes particulates. SB1394 directs the governor to enter into a compact with states that have enacted “Freedom to Breathe” laws, such as SB1393. These are laws that protect and guarantee the “right” to emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and reserve the right to regulate them — meaning no federal limits on emissions. Both bills are intended to undermine the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency or any other entity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate disruption or to reduce particulate pollution.

You can click on this link Say no to License to Pollute to send an email, or call the Capitol as indicated above and ask to be connected to your senator’s office. Tell your legislators you want clean air.

And remind your Senator to vote no on SCR1015. You can click on this link Protect Arizona Waters to send an email, or call the Capitol as indicated above. Thank you!

Because most of the really bad environmental bills are coming out of the Senate and have not had a Third Read, the agendas are lean this week. Here is what is coming up.

Monday, February 28th

Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Transportation at 2PM in SHR109
Game and Fish Commission Nomination — Robert Mansell
HB2076 department of agriculture; continuation (Crandell: Barton, Brophy McGee, et al) continues the agency through 2021.
HB2239 state parks board; membership (Goodale) adds a tourism professional to the Parks Board and eliminates one of the general public members. This really does not address any of the significant issues with Parks and it seems like they should replace one of the other special seats, not the general public seats. Frankly, do we really need two rancher seats? WATCH.
HB2360 game and fish appointment board (JP Weirs, Stevens: D. Smith) changes the “and” to “or” regarding the qualifications for one of the individuals for this board. It means the organization can have a purpose to conserve deer, elk, pronghorn, or fish, rather than all of them. We argued that they could have filled this by appointing someone who works more holistically on wildlife issues, including habitat protection. Apparently the governor’s office disagreed. We opposed the bill last year that created this entity and still think it is just intended to keep people from participating and make Game and Fish more of a trade association versus a public agency accountable to the larger public. WATCH.

House Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at 2pm in House Hearing Room 4
SB1135 nuclear emergency appropriation and assessment (Nelson) appropriates about $3.5 million over two years for operating a nuclear power plant. There are provisions for assessments against the utilities. WATCH.
SB1228 trust lands; long-term leases; default (Nelson, Fann, Jones, et al) establishes a cancellation procedure for defaults on long-term leases of state trust lands that allows the State Land Commissioner to extend the time for delinquent payments up to five years before cancellation of the lease occurs. WATCH.
Wednesday, March 2nd

Senate Committee on Government Reform at 9am in Senate Hearing Room 1
HB2005 subdivisions; acting in concert (Burges) lowers the requirements for subdivision standards — 10 or fewer lots do not have to submit preliminary plats and the board of supervisors must waive or reduce infrastructure standards or requirements with the exception of those related to dust control access and drainage. This will result in more substandard sprawl development that eats up more land and leaves taxpayers to foot the bill for any problems. The bill also makes it more difficult to demonstrate that someone was avoiding the subdivision laws by “acting in concert,” which basically means working with someone else to subdivide and develop land and to do so in such a way that you avoid triggering subdivision requirements. Arizona really does not need lower standards for land use. OPPOSE.

House Committee on Military Affairs and Public Safety at 9AM in House Hearing Room 3
SB1193 reportable hazardous substance release; exception (Nelson) makes a technical change to a cross-reference. MONITOR.

Senate Committee on Commerce and Energy at 9am in Senate Hearing Room 109
Presentations from The Solar Alliance and APS regarding Palo Verde Generating Station

Senate Committee on Water, Land Use and Rural Development at 2pm in Senate Hearing Room 3
Presentation on Yuma Desalination Plant by the Bureau of Reclamation

Thursday, March 3rd

Senate Committee on Border Security, Federalism, and State Sovereignty at 9AM in SHR109
This agenda is not posted.

House Committee on Agriculture and Water at 9AM in House Hearing Room 5
SB1194 structural pest management; regulation (Pierce, Crandall, Griffin, et al) transfers the administrative supervision of the Office of Pest Management to the Director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture through December 31, 2013. It requires the Office of Pest Management to relocate its offices to the Arizona Department of Agriculture. It establishes a Structural Pest Management Task Force that is far from balanced, however. WATCH.

House Committee on Technology and Infrastructure at 9AM in House Hearing Room 1
SB1171 cities; acquisition of wastewater utility (Antenori, Griffin, Melvin, et al) a city or town to acquire all or any part of a sewage system from a county. This is part of a fight between Pima County and Marana. Marana thinks the county is limiting its ability to grow. Pima County finally upgraded these facilities so they are not violating the Clean Water Act — at least not as much, why would we want to see Marana take over? OPPOSE.

If you are not sure who your legislators are, click on Districts or paste this you’re your browser http://azredistricting.org/mapping/default2.asp?tname=Interim.2009.Legislative.Map&service=ircmaps&Layer4=on&Layer1=on&action=zoomin&ActiveLayer=16 or call the House or Senate information desks. For more information on bills we are tracking, click on Legislative Tracker or paste http://arizona.sierraclub.org/political_action/tracker/ into your browser.

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