Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sierra Club Report Card: Lots Of F's for AZ Lawmakers

Posted By on Tue, May 18, 2010 at 2:05 PM

The Sierra Club has finished grading state lawmakers. To no great surprise, Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr was dismayed by the session:


It has often been stated relative to the Arizona Legislature, “It cannot possibly get any worse.” Well, it can, and it did. The 2010 Arizona Legislative Session will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst for Arizona’s natural resources. While a tough economy certainly meant there would be some hits and tough decisions, much of what was done this session was unnecessary and unwise and will harm Arizona’s future.

Local Democrats got A's; local Republicans got F's.

You can find the entire report card here.

Here's Bahr's entire press release:

It has often been stated relative to the Arizona Legislature, “It cannot possibly get any worse.” Well, it can, and it did. The 2010 Arizona Legislative Session will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst for Arizona’s natural resources. While a tough economy certainly meant there would be some hits and tough decisions, much of what was done this session was unnecessary and unwise and will harm Arizona’s future.

“Particularly troubling was the lack of support from the legislative leadership or the governor for protection of Arizona’s groundwater, rivers and streams, as well as the state parks system,” said Sandy Bahr, Chapter Director for the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter. “The legislature passed and the governor signed a bill to weaken the state’s aquifer protection permit program, a program that institutes protective measures for groundwater rather than after-the-fact clean up. Weakening this program makes no sense, does not help the economy, and means that future generations will have more polluted groundwater to clean up.”

Without a miracle or someone with deep pockets coming to the rescue — or both — Arizona’s state park system will be a shadow of its former self by mid-year. More than half of the state parks could be closed by year’s end.

State Parks was prepared to limp along with a seasonal park system on $19 million of revenue composed mainly of the enhancement fund (park entrance fees), state lake improvement fund (gas and usage tax), and lottery revenues (Heritage Fund). However, the Arizona Legislature diverted and swept away about half of that, leaving State Parks with almost no source of operating funds. In this year’s budget, the Legislature took the Heritage Fund and actually repealed the State Park’s portion of it — dollars for this come from the state lottery.

As if that was not bad enough, they also repealed funding for mass transit by eliminating the Local Transportation Assistance Fund, also funded by the lottery. There were also more exemptions for industrial agriculture from both zoning and air quality protections and measures to give science a backseat when it comes to wildlife management.

“Overall, there were very few bright spots,” said Bahr. “Legislators did advance a bill to continue incentives for solar and also a decent land exchange proposal with the needed transparency and accountability. Some very bad bills also died in the process, including a measure to put used tires in mines, which would risk our air and water, and a measure to undercut Clean Water Act protections for most of Arizona’s rivers and streams.”

A bill to include nuclear power in the definition of renewable energy and to create a renewable energy standard in conflict with the one established by the Arizona Corporation Commission was withdrawn and therefore did not advance this session. Had it passed, HB2701 would have been a disaster for Arizona’s growing renewable energy industry.

This year 37 House members and 18 senators received failing grades and did not break even with a zero. On a positive note, two senators earned an “A+,” which means they voted 100 percent pro-environment and also did not miss a vote on the key bills we scored. Six senators and 17 House members received an “A.” The governor earned an F.

“You could almost hear the air, the land, the water, and the wildlife sigh with relief when the Arizona Legislature adjourned on April 29th,” said Bahr.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Jim Nintzel

  • The Skinny

    Ann Kirkpatrick tosses her hat in the ring while Ward 3 Democratic primary candidates show us the money.
    • Jul 27, 2017
  • Editor's Note

    Knocking It Out of the Park
    • Jul 27, 2017
  • Editor's Note

    An Ailing Healthcare Reform
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • More »
Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Saturday Tour & Tasting

Saturday Tour & Tasting @ Hamilton Distillery

Saturdays, 3-5 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

Staff Pick

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Cool Summer Nights

Beat Arizona heat and enjoy a family-friendly outing during the Desert Museum’s Cool Summer Nights. The stunning… More

@ Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Saturdays, 5-10 p.m. Continues through Sept. 2 2021 N. Kinney Road.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. A Few Thoughts On the Mexican American Studies Trial (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Tour Diaries! XIXA Day 13: Italian Thieves! XIXA Tour Van Busted Into, Gear Ripped Off. (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. BASIS Connives to Maintain Its Elite Charter School Status in Baton Rouge (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Jogger Plans Half-Day Run To Support No More Deaths (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Quick Bites: Main Gate Square Culinary Challenge (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2017 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation