Monday, February 17, 2020

Request to Speak Action: Bad Water Bills, the ACC and others



The State Legislature is now in session. You can weigh in on bills that are currently being heard in committee through the Request to Speak system on their website.  


If you are not signed up for Request to Speak, here are two ways to do that.

1) Go to  https://bit.ly/2P3CEtM and fill out the form with your e-mail address and legislative district. The Civic Engagement rep will sign you up and then e-mail a login pin number that you can use to create a password. (You can find your legislative district by putting your zip code in the district locator. )

2) To do it yourself... go to Request to Speak to set up an account, just select "Create An Account" and fill out the information. Then you will need to go to the Tucson legislative offices at 400 W. Congress, Suite 201 to finish activating it. 

Here is a YouTube video on how to set up an account as well. 

Once you are signed up, you can support a bill with a thumbs up or oppose it with a thumbs down. You can also leave a short (one or two sentence) explanation. The Committee members actually review the Request to Speak submissions before making their final decisions. If they are on the fence, your input might help influence them.

Here are my directions on how to navigate the system. Once you've done it a couple times, it's super easy. You just need the Committee name, the date and time, and the bill number. 

NOTE: You must submit your comment before the bill is heard in committee or while it is still being heard in committee. Once that meeting is over, it is too late. For example, before it comes to a vote at 2 o'clock. 

Here are some bills being heard in committee this week and the
Sierra Club's recommendations on how to weigh in.

Tuesday, February 18th

House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy, & Water at 2:00 PM 


HB2787 water; augmentation authority; special districts requires a county water augmentation authority to charge a voluntary assessment on certain lands within its active management area and allows county improvement districts to undertake water supply development. This seems like another recipe for unsustainable development. OPPOSE.

HB2818 adjudication; subflow wells; claim; priority codifies pumping surface water and attempts to give people a surface water right to water they have been pumping. OPPOSE.

HB2880 assured water supply; availability; plats limits what the Arizona Department of Water Resources can consider in determining whether water is physically available for purposes of determination of an assured water supply in the Pinal Active Management Area. This is more unsustainable water policy. OPPOSE.

Senate Committee on Transportation and Public Safety at 9:30 A.M. 

SB1369 vehicle fuels; infrastructure; legislative authority limits the Arizona Corporation Commission's ability to regulate electricity as a motor vehicle fuel. This appears to be a bill from the Western States Petroleum Association. OPPOSE.

House Committee on Commerce at 2:00 P.M. 

HB2841 municipal zoning; housing overlay would open up massive amounts of land for development and take away more local control while purporting to address affordable housing. It does not. OPPOSE. 

Wednesday, February 19th

Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy at 2:00 P.M. 

SB1666 endangered species conservation; confidential information makes any data collected about endangered species by a state agency from a private property owner confidential and limits its disclosure to the public. This would include information that is part of a survey, other research, or as part of a conservation plan. If information is collected by the state for the public using public dollars, then the public should have access to that information. OPPOSE.

House Committee on Appropriations when floor adjourns 

HB2551 appropriation; state parks; heritage fund appropriates $10 million from the general fund for the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund. SUPPORT.

Thursday, February 20th

House Committee on Government at 8:30 A.M. 

HCR2041 corporation commission; appointment; members  would refer to the ballot a measure to have corporation commissioners appointed instead of elected. This would not give us better, more accountable commissioners. We would be giving up one of our rights in the Arizona Constitition. OPPOSE.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Tell your AZ legislators: Protect Arizona's groundwater


Protect Arizona's Rivers by protecting our groundwater. 

2 out of every 5 glasses of water in Arizona come from underground water supplies. But in most of the state, these critical groundwater resources are left entirely unprotected.
This means Arizona’s precious flowing rivers are at risk — along with the state’s long-term economic health and the resilience of Arizona’s rural communities.

Take action today, and tell the state legislature: It's time to protect Arizona's groundwater. 

The Arizona Republic's recent serios of articles on "Arizona's Next Water Crisis" exposed the dangers of unregulated groundwater pumping — and highlighted a recent Arizona State University report that warns that groundwater supplies are unlikely to keep up with development in some of Arizona’s biggest cities.

We have no time to waste: More than one-third of Arizona’s perennial river miles have already dried up, largely because of groundwater pumping.


Luckily, it’s a problem we can fix — as long as the state legislature takes action.



More information on Arizona's rivers:


The Gila River Indian Community in Arizona played a critical role in a historic seven-state agreement to conserve water from the Colorado and build a more resilient future in the face of a nearly two-decade drought.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Stop Rollbacks On Pesticide Protections


The Trump admin recently proposed rule changes that will put farmworkers and rural families near farms at risk of exposure to toxic pesticides. Speak up to help stop them before the January 30 comment deadline!

WHY THIS MATTERS Agricultural work is one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Farmworkers face unbearable heat, backbreaking labor, and pesticide exposure. Agriculture Worker Protection Standard was put into place to protect farmworkers from occupational hazards, such as pesticide exposure.

Now, the Trump administration wants this common-sense precaution to stop at the farm's property line. But pesticides are notorious for drifting onto neighboring properties, which places the health of farmers, farmworkers, and neighbors at risk.

These rules were put into place to protect people from the spraying of toxic chemicals. These changes are a betrayal to farmworkers and their families.

It's absurd to expect pesticides to respect property boundaries. This action places corporate interests ahead of the wellbeing of people who live or work near farms, by exposing them to dangerous, cancer-causing chemicals.

Demand the Environmental Protection Agency act to protect people and the planet, not corporate profits. Please, include a personal statement so it isn't seen as a form letter.

TO: Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs

Cancel the proposed changes to the Application Exclusion Zone

Friday, December 27, 2019

Tell TEP and ACC: Protect Tucson's Future -- We Need Clean Energy Now!


Take Action - Tucson could be a clean energy leader and bring customers affordable, clean power. But right now, Tucson Electric Power (TEP) wants to increase energy costs to prop up dirty fossil fuel plants!

If you haven't already, please, send a letter to the ACC as soon as possible. The public hearings concluded yesterday, but there is still time to submit written comments until February 14.

WHY THIS MATTERS

TEP is asking the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) for permission to increase energy costs on its customers to prop up expensive and harmful gas and coal plants.

TEP's residential customers, including low-income folks, on average, would have to pay over $90 per year more for energy that harms our communities and pollutes our environment. And despite advertising itself as a "green" company, TEP gets over 80% of its power from fossil fuels.

Instead of charging customers more to prop up its dirty, expensive coal and gas plants, TEP should be helping communities transition to clean energy, including Arizona’s potential for a rich solar economy.

We must stop all investments in coal and gas and provide clean, affordable, and local energy to Tucson. The quality of our air and the sustainability of our climate depend on it. Arizona officials must take action to keep Tucson’s electric bills low and clean up our air, including in communities where coal and gas plants are sited.

Take action below -- send a message to Arizona Corporation Commission asking them to protect TEP ratepayers, such as yourself, from fossil fuel pollution and unnecessarily high electricity prices!

Here is the direct link to the public comment form on the ACC website:

https://eservice.azcc.gov/Utilities/PublicComment

There is a place to put the docket number - TEP's rate case docket number is E-01933A-19-0028

Written public comments may be submitted by mailing a letter referencing Docket No. E-01933A-l9-0028 to Arizona Corporation Commission, Consumer Services Section, 1200 West Washington Street, Phoenix, AZ 85007, or by submitting comments on the Commission's website (www.azcc.gov) using "Cases and Open Meetings" and "Make a Public Comment in a Docket." If you require assistance, you may contact the Consumer Services Section at 602-542-4251 or 1-800-222-7000.

All documents related to this item can be found in the Corporation Commission’s online docket at https://edocket.azcc.gov and entering docket number E-01933A-19-0028.

###

About the ACC:

The Arizona Corporation Commission was established by the state’s constitution to regulate public utilities and business incorporation. The Corporation Commission is Arizona’s co-equal, fourth branch of government. The five Commissioners elected to the Corporation Commission oversee executive, legislative, and judicial proceedings on behalf of Arizonans when it comes to their water, electricity, telephone, and natural gas resources as well as the regulation of securities, pipeline, and railroad safety. To learn more about the Arizona Corporation Commission and its Commissioners, visit http://azcc.gov.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Public Comments Needed to Protect Apache Leap

Tonto National Forest Plan Revision

Saguaro cactus with rugged mountain sin background
Tonto National Forest's Land and Resource Management Plan revision is out today for comments. It is another opportunity to send comments to the Forest Service to protect Apache Leap Special Management Area from the impacts of the proposed Resolution Mine.   


Sample comment:

"The Apache Leap Special Management Area persists as a special place with emphasis given to preserving the area’s natural character, allowing traditional uses by Indian tribes, and protecting and conserving the cultural and archeological resources of the area."

Each National Forest and Grassland is governed by a Land and Resource Management Plan (Forest Plan) in accordance with the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). The Tonto National Forest has a forest plan providing comprehensive management direction for resources on the National Forest System Lands. This includes plan direction for management, protection, and uses of the Forest. Monitoring conditions on the Forest ensures projects are done in accordance with plan direction and identify conditions that might require a change in the Forest Plan.

The Tonto National Forest began revising its Forest Plan in 2014 using the 2012 Planning Rule for the National Forest System. This webpage provides information on the forest plan revision process and how to get involved.

The draft land management plan (draft forest plan) and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) documents are available for public review and comment. The Notice of Availability (NOA) was published in the Federal Register on December 13, 2019 which initiated the 90-day comment period. A legal notice was also published in Arizona Capitol Times. The planning team has worked hard to incorporate all the information received since starting the plan revision process. For more information, refer to the Draft Forest Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement Documents below. The Tonto NF will be hosting public meetings throughout the comment period to share information and gather feedback.

More Information

https://azbigmedia.com/business/united-states-forest-service-finalizes-plan-protect-apache-leap/

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Tell 2020 Democratic candidates: End REAL ID

The petition to Democratic presidential candidates reads:
"REAL ID puts a terrifying mark on undocumented people in the United States. Democrats should be working to fix the broken system, not finding new ways to target people without documentation. Pledge to End REAL ID now."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
In less than a year, the federal government will have a new and dangerous tool at its disposal to visibly mark and punish undocumented people.
On Oct. 20, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security will require everyone who lives in the United States to use a REAL ID driver's license to board domestic flights or enter federal buildings.1 Immigrants and other people who do not have paperwork proving citizenship cannot get a REAL ID. They will have limited mobility and an alternative ID signaling that they could be undocumented.
The REAL ID requirement is not about safety or uniformity. It is about requiring states to flag undocumented people so that law enforcement can easily identify them. But the next president can overturn this rule. Now, more than ever, we must make sure that Democratic 2020 candidates are working to fix our broken systems instead of finding new ways for more people to be targeted by the government.
The REAL ID Act was signed in 2005 without meaningful debate. As with so many other post-9/11 policies, it was fueled by Islamophobia and xenophobia. Since 2005, opposition to REAL ID has grown. A number of states, concerned about privacy and the construction of a DHS national database of drivers, refused to comply, which pushed the deadline back years. Now states are now being forced to comply.
The pushback may have died down, but the stakes are still high. Driver's licenses are essential to our communities. They allow people to legally drive, insure their vehicles, fly, and obtain services and housing, and REAL ID is a green light for discrimination.2
REAL ID is extremely dangerous because of this:
  • Unequal access.
  • Right now, DACA recipients can only obtain temporary REAL IDs. Undocumented immigrants cannot receive a REAL ID at all. And people who don't have their birth certificate or social security card or whose name is different than what is on their documentation will have a hard, if not impossible, time getting a REAL ID.
  • Two-tiered system.
  • If REAL ID replaces standard licenses, we will create a clear class of second-class Americans whose lack of a REAL ID marks them, limits their mobility and makes them suspect. Simply living in the United States will become even harder for those who can't access the REAL ID.
  • Supercharged surveillance.
  • With REAL ID, ICE, Border Patrol and local police would have the ability to pull from DMV databases to create their own records of who doesn't have a REAL ID. That data could be used by employers, landlords and banks to deny people work, housing, bank accounts and other financial services.
We have than a year from the REAL ID deadline, abd 99 million people still don't have one.3 There is a significant chance that millions who are eligible will still be without REAL ID past the October 2020 deadline, which gives us leverage to stop the requirement. We need the 2020 Democratic candidates to pledge to end REAL ID now.
Tell 2020 Democratic candidates: Reject REAL ID now. Click the link below to sign the petition:
Jelani Drew, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Katia Hetter, "Is your ID good enough to travel? It may not be next year," CNN, Oct. 2, 2019.
  2. Alex Davies, "The Real ID Is Nearly Here, and You Can’t Fly Home Without It," Wired, Nov. 18, 2019.
  3. National Conference on State Legislature, "State Legislative Activity in Opposition to the Real ID," January 2014.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: Commit to garment factory safety

Rana Plaza building collapse in Savar
Petition to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos:
Avoid more unnecessary and tragic deaths by transparently disclosing a list of your factories and signing on to the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. Additionally, we urge you to require third-party sellers to abide by the same safety conditions.
Rescuers tried for 48 hours to free Rozina Begum from the rubble of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse. They failed. Then, they gave her a saw. They told her she would have to saw her arm off to save her life. "I didn't think about it," Begum said. "It took me hours. I kept passing out. But in the end, I did it."1
6 years after Rana Plaza, a Wall Street Journal investigation found that Amazon is selling clothing from dozens of blacklisted Bangladeshi factories that have been deemed too dangerous.2
With Cyber Monday approaching fast, Amazon’s failure to commit to safety standards literally puts lives in danger. Amazon may have overtaken Walmart as America’s No. 1 clothing seller -- meaning if they agreed to the same safety standards as other brands, Amazon could save lives. 
Tell : No one deserves to lose their life because Amazon doesn’t want to do the right thing. Sign onto the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety before more people die.
Over 1,100 people died in the Rana Plaza factory collapse. After that, major brands like H&M, Fruit of the Loom, and American Eagle Outfitters agreed to commit to factory safety standards like fixing crumbling buildings, fire alarms, and sprinklers.3
But Amazon didn’t sign on. According to a Wall Street Journal investigation, Amazon offers clothing from dozens of Bangladeshi factories that have been blacklisted by other retailers as being too dangerous. 
Some of the clothing was sold directly by Amazon and others from third-party sellers. Amazon doesn’t list much information about the factories they source from and doesn’t require third-party sellers to disclose their list of factories.
Other brands like H&M have committed to the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a legally binding agreement to building and worker safety between worker unions, international monitoring organizations, and apparel corporations. 
The Accord has undoubtedly saved lives -- which is why it’s so important Amazon signs onto it.
Tell Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: Lives are worth more than corporate greed. Sign onto the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety before more lives are lost.
This isn’t the only case of Amazon running its platform in ways that can put customers and workers in danger. Thousands of products listed on Amazon have been deemed unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled, or even banned by regulators -- including unsafe children’s toys and recalled motorcycle helmets.4
Amazon’s platform is too big to be managed responsibly by a single mega-company that has its hands in everything. The unchecked monopoly power of Amazon has resulted in a platform that allows the sale of garments made under dangerous conditions.
Big tech companies like Amazon are literally putting lives in danger, which is just one of the many reasons Demand Progress members like you have been calling for a breakup of big tech monopolies.
Cyber Monday is coming up soon, which means more pressure on Amazon and its third party sellers to sell products. We must demand Amazon signs onto the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety before Amazon’s failure to act results in more deaths.
Tell Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: Sign onto the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety before more lives are lost.
Sources:
1. The Wall Street Journal, "A Year Later, Rana Plaza Survivors Struggle," April 23rd, 2014.
2. The Wall Street Journal, "Amazon Sells Clothes From Factories Other Retailers Blacklist," October 23rd, 2019.
3. The Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, "Accord Signatories," November 20th, 2019.
4. The Wall Street Journal, "Amazon Has Ceded Control of Its Site. The Result: Thousands of Banned, Unsafe or Mislabeled Products," August 23rd, 2019.
MORE INFORMATION
Amazon sells clothes from dangerous blacklisted factories, investigation finds - New York Post