Monday, March 7, 2011

Sierra Club: Not Thrilled With This Legislative Session

Posted By on Mon, Mar 7, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club fills us in on the latest assaults on the environment at the Arizona Legislature:

Hello all! There are three important events to attend early next week. I hope you can join us for all three.

First of all, please attend a public meeting on protecting about 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. Information on the upcoming meetings is listed below.

Monday, March 7, 2011, 6-8:30pm at the National Training Center, 9828 North 31st Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85051 (Visitors enter and exit the NTC through the main entrance on the north side of the building.)
Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 6-8:30pm at the High Country Conference Center, Agassiz & Fremont Rooms, 201 West Butler Avenue, Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Next, please attend Environmental Day at the Capitol on Tuesday, March 8th from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. 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. 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.

This week, ask your senator to vote no on SB1395. It will likely come to the floor on Monday. Click on Protect Endangered Species to send 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 and please thank Representatives Patterson, Campbell, and Meyer, for speaking up for wolves on the floor. 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.

The silly (perhaps ridiculous is a better word) season is upon as at the Arizona Legislature as leadership in the Arizona Senate seeks to ban those who disagree with them from the halls of the Senate and they continue to smack the federal government with one hand while reaching out for the cash with the other. This week, the Senate passed the following bills:

SCR1015 jurisdiction over intrastate waters (Allen: Antenori, Biggs, et al), SB1294 NOW: application of aquatic poison (Griffin), SB1392 Mexican gray wolf; interstate compact (Allen, Griffin, Melvin, et al), SB1393 greenhouse emissions; legislative authority (Allen: Gould, Griffin, et al) and SB1394 greenhouse substances; freedom to breathe (Allen: Griffin, Reagan, et al). All passed along party lines, so please thank them and express disappointment accordingly.

· SCR1015 refers to the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that says the State of Arizona has the “primary responsibility or exclusive right to prevent, reduce or eliminate pollution, to plan the development and use, including restoration, preservation and enhancement of this state's water resources.” Which is it? This is very confusing and ambiguous language to put into the Arizona Constitution. The intent is to remove Clean Water Act protections from the vast majority of Arizona waters. Without it, these waters will have no protections in place because the State of Arizona has no programs to protect them — all of our surface water protections are related to the Clean Water Act.

· SB1294 seeks to block efforts to recover native fishes in Arizona. While we encourage the careful and limited use of any chemical, including piscicides such as Rotenone and Antimycin A, this bill will erect an additional barrier and an unnecessary and redundant review that could further hinder recovery of native fishes, not to mention burden an agency — the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality — with a review process for which it has no funding. If this was a serious effort to protect our waters, it would include the many agricultural pesticides that actually do pollute our water and not just target chemicals that are used only for native fish recovery.

· SB1392 allows the governor to enter into an interstate compact on wolves. It seeks to remove wolves from the Endangered Species list and contains many weak and ambiguous provisions. It fails to incorporate the federal standards of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) requiring management decisions to promote the recovery of the species, while including language about it being unlawful to kill a wolf, it is only a misdemeanor and therefore inconsistent with laws relating to killing of an endangered species. Just 50 Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild today in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.

· SB1393 and SB1394 constitute a “License to Pollute.” 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 seek 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. They will put at risk our efforts to develop a plan to meet the health-based standards for particulates and further risk sanctions, including loss of federal highway dollars.

· SCM1007 is only a “postcard” and does not affect the law, but it is a truly bad message to send. The memorial is disrespectful of the many local and tribal entities — City of Flagstaff; Coconino County; Navajo Nation; Hopi, Kaibab-Paiute, Hualapai, and Havasupai tribes; National Congress of American Indians — that have been working to protect the Grand Canyon area from uranium mining. Interior Secretary Salazar has proposed withdrawing one million acres around the Grand Canyon from mining for 20 years, the maximum allowed under an administrative withdrawal. Withdrawing these lands from future mining activity is key to ensuring their resiliency in light of climate change and protecting the water and watershed that supports people and wildlife alike. Thank you to Senator Jackson for speaking up for the lands around Grand Canyon and all the people who have been detrimentally affected by uranium mines!

They also passed a terrible bill on impact fees, ensuring that we will subsidize more urban sprawl and further exacerbating the problems we have in Arizona with a one dimensional economy. This one was closer, passing with only the minimum of 16 votes. They failed to pass the bill to nullify federal laws, but it will be reconsidered next week.

Here is what is coming up.

Monday, March 7th

Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Transportation at 2PM in SHR109
Water Quality Appeals Board Nomination — Laurie A. Woodall
Presentation by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
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?
HB2319 primitive roads; county maintenance (Jones, Pancrazi, Allen, et al) permits the board of supervisors to spend public funds for maintenance of roads and streets that have been designated as primitive roads. WATCH.
HB2358 wildlife; guides; wasted meat (JP Weirs, Stevens: D. Smith) clarifies the definition of guide and adds wasting game meet to the list of violations for which a hunting license can be revoked. SUPPORT.

Phoenix Public Meeting on Mineral Withdrawal - see above.

Tuesday, March 8th
Environmental Day at the Capitol — see above.

Senate Committee on Appropriations at 2PM in SHR109
HB2227 separate funds; donations; transfer prohibited (Fillmore) states that monetary gifts, devises or donations received by the state are not to be considered a part of the state General Fund unless the gift is specified for general government use. This will limit sweeping of dollars that have been donated to Parks or other entities for a specific purpose. SUPPORT.

House Committee on Environment at 2PM at West 43rd Ave PM-10 Monitor
Tour of the West 43rd PM-10 Monitor, on Broadway between 35th Avenue and 43rd Avenue

Flagstaff Public Meeting on Mineral Withdrawal - see above.

Wednesday, March 9th

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 Commerce at 10AM in House Hearing Room 5
SB1178 intrastate commerce act (Allen, Gray, Griffin, et al) says that all goods grown, manufactured or made in this state and all services performed in this state when the goods or services are sold, maintained or retained in this state are not subject to the authority of Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce among the several states. Apparently, they do not want federal food safety provisions to apply to food grown and sold in Arizona. Obviously, they would object to pesticide regulation and any kind of public health or environmental regulation as well. This is ridiculous. OPPOSE.

Thursday, March 10th

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
Salt River Projects’ Mission by Brute Hallin, SRP Manager, Water Rights and Contracts
Overview of Water Wells in Arizona by Gary Hix, President, AZ Water Well Association

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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