Sierra Club: Protect the Grand Canyon From Mining. Plus: The Bad Bills Continue at the Legislature

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Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club sends out her weekly update:

Hello all! The Legislature continues to move along with passing unnecessary and ridiculous bills and has not focused on the one thing they absolutely must do — pass a budget. Thank you to everyone who came out to participate in Environmental Day at the Capitol. We appreciate your support during a really tough time. It is important that we continue to remind them that a lot of people in Arizona care about clean air and water and protecting our wildlands and wildlife

Even though you may have missed the public meetings, you can still comment in support of protecting more than one million acres of public lands around Grand Canyon from mining. Click on Protect Grand Canyon from Mining for details and to comment on the draft environmental impact statement. You can send an email to NAZproposedwithdrawal@azblm.org. For those of you who would like to send in written comments, please send them to:

Bureau of Land Management
Northern Arizona Proposed Withdrawal EIS
345 East Riverside Drive
St. George, UT 84790

Please support Alternative B, which includes the full one million acre withdrawal and the maximum protection.

Please also contact members of the House Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and ask them to oppose SCM1007 state lands; mining; exploration (Melvin). It is a memorial asking the Department of Interior not to withdraw from mining the one million acres of public lands near Grand Canyon. There are several inaccurate statements contained in the memorial, plus protecting these lands is a good idea that is broadly supported. Committee members include the following Representatives: Brenda Barton, Kate Brophy McGee, Karen Fann, Peggy Judd, Daniel Patterson, Frank Pratt, Amanda A. Reeve, Macario Saldate IV, and Bruce Wheeler.

Please also contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to oppose SB1546 eminent domain on federal property (Melvin), which states that property possessed by the U.S. Government may be taken, unless the property was acquired by the federal government with the consent of the legislature. This is just ridiculous. You have to wonder what they have their eyes on — national forests? Parks?

Ask them to oppose SCR1025 public funds: political candidates; ban (S. Pierce: Bundgaard). It refers to the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that prohibits public funds from being used to provide campaign support for candidates for public office. This is a backdoor repeal of Clean Elections. Members of the Judiciary Committee include Representatives: Cecil P. Ash, Tom Chabin, Eddie Farnsworth, Doris Goodale, Albert Hale, Jack W. Harper, David Burnell Smith, Anna Tovar, and Ted Vogt.

If you're outside the Phoenix area, you can call legislators’ offices toll free at 1-800-352-8404. In the Phoenix area call (602) 926-4221 (House).

Here is what is coming up this week.

Monday, March 14th

Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Transportation at 2PM in SHR109

HB2208 NOW: agriculture best management practices; rules (Reeve) allows the Agricultural Best Management Practices Committee to adopt revisions to its rules as exempt rules with an immediate effective date in order to comply with the failure of Maricopa County to attain the national ambient air quality health-based standard for PM-10. The Best Management Practices (BMPs) for agriculture are a bit of a joke and certainly weak. Perhaps this will result in something better? There will likely be an amendment to focus on days that windier and actions that certain interests must take.

HB2622 recreational off-highway vehicles (Reeve) includes newer and heavier vehicles in the definition of all-terrain vehicle. MONITOR.

HB2318 regional and public transportation authorizes (Jones, Pancrazi: Crandell, et al) Allows any community college district in a municipality or any Indian Nation that has a boundary within a county to become a member of the public transportation authority through an intergovernmental agreement

HB2396 game and fish; trophies; enforcement (Jones) prevents individuals that have been assessed civil damages for violations from obtaining new licenses while a civil action is pending or prior to paying the damages in full.

HB2623 landowner prohibition of hunting; posting (Crandell, Jones, Pancrazi, et al) clarifies the posting requirements relative to private land. WATCH.

House Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at 2PM in HHR4

SCM1007 state lands; mining; exploration (Melvin) is a memorial asking the Department of Interior not to withdraw from mining, one million acres of public lands near Grand Canyon. There are several inaccurate statements contained in the memorial, plus protecting these lands is a good idea that is broadly supported. OPPOSE.

Senate Committee on Judiciary at 2PM in SHR1

HB2006 firearms within game refuges (Harper) allows a person to possess, transport or carry a firearm within a game refuge. OPPOSE.

Tuesday, March 15th

Senate Committee on Appropriations at 2PM in SHR109

HB2577 legislative appropriations; federal monies (Olson) says the legislature has the power to appropriate certain federal monies that come to the state. OPPOSE.

House Committee on Government at 2PM in HHR4

SB1286 counties; cities; permits; time limit (Klein, Bundgaard, Harper, et al) says that within sixty days after receipt of a complete application for any permit issued by a city or town, the city or town shall approve or deny the proposed application. A failure to respond within sixty days after receiving a complete application for any permit constitutes approval of the application. We have concerns about this. OPPOSE.

Wednesday, March 16th

Senate Committee on Commerce and Energy at 9am in Senate Hearing Room 109
Presentation from the Arizona Office of Tourism and the Arizona Tourism Alliance

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.

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

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.

SB1406 interstate compact; border fence (Smith: Allen, Antenori, et al) allows the governor to enter into an interstate compact to create a border fence along the Arizona-Mexico border located on private property. Just what we need, more ineffective infrastructure that destroys border lands and blocks wildlife. At least they recognize they cannot do this on public lands.

Senate Committee on Water, Land Use and Rural Development at 2pm in Senate Hearing Room 3
Presentation by Doyle Shamley, Apache County Resource Coordinator, on water claims by Federal land management agencies
Presentation by Jennifer McCloskey, Bureau of Reclamation, on the Yuma Desalination Plant

HB2485 NOW: government land; private land; study (Gowan: Vogt, Antenori) will now have a new strike everything on liquefied petroleum gas; emergencies; liability.

HB2593 water salinity study committee (Fann: Carter, Court, et al) establishes a study committee on water salinity to look at the sources, cost of treatment, and impacts of salinity. SUPPORT.

Thursday, March 17th

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

House Committee on Agriculture and Water at 9AM in House Hearing Room 5

Arizona’s Water Future: Challenges and Opportunities by Sharon Megdal, University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center
Water Quality in Arizona by Jim Buster, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

House Committee on Judiciary at 9AM in House Hearing Room 4

SB1546 eminent domain on federal property (Melvin) states that property possessed by the U.S. Government may be taken, unless the property was acquired by the federal government with the consent of the legislature. This is just ridiculous. You have to wonder what they have their eyes on. OPPOSE.

SCR1025 public funds: political candidates; ban (S. Pierce: Bundgaard) refers to the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that prohibits public funds from being used to provide campaign support for candidates for public office. This is a backdoor repeal of Clean Elections. OPPOSE.

House Committee on Transportation at 9AM in House Hearing Room 3

SB1270 NOW: Arizona department of transportation; omnibus (Nelson) contains numerous provisions relating to the agency, including broadening the Public Private Partnerships and also broadens the scope of ADOT’s logo sign program to include state highways and interstates in urban areas, among other things. WATCH.

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