Sierra Club: This Past Legislative Session Terrible, Next Year Even Worse

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Last week's Sierra Club meeting was a presentation on the environmental impact of Arizona's last legislative session titled "The 2011 Arizona Legislature: A Case Study of Unleashing Polluters and Dismantling Environmental Protections."

This included discussion of the Sierra Club's environmental report card, only one senator and seven representatives earning an A+.

Rep. Nancy McLain (R-Bullhead City) was the highest-marking Republican with a "D," and some Democrats like Rep. Lynne Pancrazi (D-Yuma) and Rep. Robert Meza (D-Phoenix) earned "B's," though most made the "Honor Roll" with an "A" and above.

One of the more enraging bills for the Sierra Club was a portion of SB1612, the general appropriations bill.

It included a transfer of $1.4 million from the State Lake Improvement Fund and $2 million from the State Parks Enhancement Fund to the general fund—the majority of which was gathered by park entrance fees, said Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club director for Arizona.

"These are all special fund dollars, no general fund money is going to the park system," Bahr said.

Sen. Paula Aboud also visited the meeting, voicing general dismay for environmental legislation these days.

"It's a full fledged war on the environment and it's all under the guise of jobs," Aboud said. "So much of our economy is tourism. You don't destroy your backyard because you need jobs."

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