Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Doug Ducey Gets a Pathetic Score in Sierra Club's Environmental Report Card

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2016 at 10:15 AM

Sure, in March Gov. Doug Ducey vetoed two bills that would have killed restrictions to pump groundwater in Cochise and Yuma counties (The Arizona Republic reported at the time that if the bills would have become law, it would have enabled at housing developments to move forward without proving long-term water availability). Still, this year was a shitty one for the state Legislature in terms of protecting the environment and natural resources in Arizona, according to the Sierra Club's 2016 Environmental Report Card.

The Sierra Club gave Ducey a D+ for his lousy environmental advocacy. He was "graded" on 12 bills—there's one he signed that will limit a city's power to require energy benchmarking and another that prohibits cities from limiting the use of plastic bags. Also, he signed a bill to divert funding from habitat protection, and one that makes it harder for homeowners to install rooftop solar panels. 
“The Arizona Legislature is determined to allow harm to what makes Arizona special – unique and threatened rivers such as the San Pedro, endangered Mexican gray wolves, public lands around Grand Canyon,” said Sandy Bahr, Chapter Director for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter. “Rather than taking advantage of our 300-plus days of sunshine and growing solar industry and the jobs its provides, legislators passed a bill to hinder installations and even considered proposed constitutional amendments that would have likely destroyed the rooftop solar industry in Arizona.”

“While our state faces more and more challenges relative to climate change, water quality and quantity, air quality, protection of wildlife and its habitat, transition to clean energy, and continued environmental inequity, the Arizona Legislature consistently seeks to take us backward by weakening state laws, limiting local government’s ability to protect resources, and objecting to and challenging important federal protections."
In the state Legislature, all but one Republican in the Senate and two in the House got failing grades. Five representatives received an A+, meaning they voted 100 percent pro-environment: from the Tucson area, Democratic Reps. Randall Friese, Matt Kopec and Stefanie Mach. Also, Reps. Debbie McCune Davis and Eric Meyer, both Democrats from the Phoenix area.

Davis was given special recognition as "Environmental Superstar Representative" for consistently voting in support of environmental protection. Davis is leaving the state Legislature at the end of the year.

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