Saturday, February 29, 2020

REQUEST TO SPEAK ACTIONS - week of March 2nd.

Arizona Historic Capitol

One of the issues we have had to face in fighting for environmental protections at the state level is currupt legislators who profit from the bad enviromental laws they propose. For example, a certain realtor who proposes bills that weaken water regulations that protect our rivers - so she can profit from unfettered development.

The Sierra Club suggests that we oppose two laws that would weaken our ability to hold our legislators accountable: HB2054 and SB1434. 

On another note, one of the tools the Sierra Club uses to protect our rivers is the argument that  outdoor recreation brings in a lot of money to our state. So they suggest that we support HB2217. 

Finally, everyday we are see the destruction that the borderwall is wreaking on our desert habitat, saguaros and wildlife. The Sierra Club suggests we oppose HB2084. 

If you are signed up for the Request to Speak, login in here

If not, find the directions for signing up and navigating the system here.  

Monday, March 2nd
Senate Committee on Government at 2:00 P.M. 
  • HB2054 GRRC; petition to request review (Biasiucci: Bolick) allows a person to petition the Governor's Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) to review Citizens Clean Elections Commission's (CCEC) existing practices, policies, and rules, if they think it doesn't meet certain requirements. This is an effort to rein in the CCEC from doing its job. OPPOSE.
  • HB2084 international boundary wall; building permits (Petersen: Barto, Biasiucci, et al.) prohibits a city, town, or county from requiring that a nonprofit corporation or property owner obtain a building or any kind of construction permit prior to constructing an international boundary wall, and further establishes a presumption that the state will grant permission for construction of an international boundary wall on state land. This latter provision may be unconstitutional, but the bill is just more xenophobia from the Arizona Legislature. OPPOSE .
Tuesday, March 3rd

House Committee on Elections at 2:00 P.M. 
  • Presentation on Elections Cybersecurity by the Arizona Department of Administration, the Arizona Secretary of State, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • SB1434 recall petitions and elections; revisions (Gowan) makes it more difficult to recall elected officials. OPPOSE.
Wednesday, March 4th

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

Thursday, March 5th

Senate Committee on Water and Agriculture at 10:00 A.M. 

Information on Desalination: 


Thursday, February 27, 2020

Stop Trump from dismantling National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

Stop Trump’s attempt to permit new pipelines without environmental review

In January, the Trump administration revealed its plans to dismantle the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), a 40-year-old environmental framework that regulates environmental reviews of federal projects. Under Trump’s proposed changes, the climate impacts of fossil fuel projects would no longer be considered.

But these changes aren’t final — we’ve still got a chance to stop them if we push back loudly and clearly. Add your name today to submit a public comment and speak out against the Trump administration’s dirty, deadly attempt to weaken our environmental laws.

The more public comments we submit opposing this deadly proposal, the more likely we are to delay it into next year or beyond. Our next president needs a crystal clear signal from us that it’s a top priority to not only stop Trump’s deadly deregulation, but greatly strengthen NEPA’s climate and environmental review processes to stop the buildout of fossil fuel infrastructure and kickstart a real just transition away from fossil fuels.

Submit your public comment today and stand with frontline communities to stop Trump from gutting the National Environmental Policy Act, one of our bedrock environmental laws.

- Oil Change International

Click here to send the following letter. Please, consider adding a personal comment for more impact.

Your letter will be delivered to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

I’m opposed to any rollbacks that weaken NEPA, including these proposed changes. This proposal would endanger the public by allowing more pollution with no accounting for cumulative impacts or consideration of the vast majority of impacts to climate change. With the dangers of the climate crisis and threats to air and water quality, we need to be extremely careful about what the impacts of any proposed project would be. Environmental reviews should be fair, deliberate, and thorough, taking into account concerns by communities and families who may be affected by the impacts of federal projects. The public — particularly communities most impacted by pollution and the climate crisis — must be allowed a meaningful opportunity to provide input.

Furthermore, polluters should not be allowed to pick their own contractors to do environmental assessments. These assessments should be done by federal agencies or third-party contractors without any relationship with the project owners, to prevent any potential conflict of interest.

I strongly oppose CEQ’s proposed changes to the rules, as well as any other changes to NEPA’s implementing procedures that would in any way restrict public input, limit consideration of project alternatives, or narrow or eliminate federal agencies’ obligations to consider a project’s climate impacts. Agencies must be required to consider direct, indirect, and cumulative effects


White House update of key environmental law would exclude climate change - Washington Post, Jan. 3, 2020

Monday, February 24, 2020

Stop Science Secrecy Bills -- Protect Endangered Species

HB2749 endangered species conservation; confidential information (Griffin) and SB1666 endangered species conservation; confidential information (Gowan: Borrelli, Leach) make confidential any data collected about endangered species by a state or municipal agency or anyone acting on their behalf from a private property owner. That does not mean just names and addresses, which can already be kept confidential. The bills limit the disclosure of any data collected to the public and to other state and also federal agencies. 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 regarding the public’s resources, then the public should have access to that information.

If this kind of information is kept confidential as it relates to a Habitat Conservation Plan, how would the public know if a conservation plan that is in place is working or not? How would we know it was being implemented properly?

How would the public know the effectiveness of certain management practices, including those that are part of a conservation plan, if the data are not available to them?

If these bills are enacted, they would also limit information available for decisions about listing of species and about critical habitat designation. How could the public be assured that the information was being used to appropriately inform decisions? How would we know if the data are accurately reflecting what is happening relative to a species or its habitat if we cannot see the data?

These bills would limit the public’s ability to fulfill our watchdog role relative to state agencies, including Arizona Game and Fish.

These bills are modeled after provisions in Texas, hardly a state that is known for its progressive wildlife management policies. See How Texas fights endangered species protections critter by critter.

From the article,
‘States can be valuable partners in managing endangered species, said Melinda Taylor, director of the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law and Business at the University of Texas School of Law. “The problem in Texas, though, is the effort has been all about how to minimize the degree of protection species are afforded, to thwart the meaning of the act.”’

Please send a message to your state senator and two representatives asking them to oppose HB2749 and SB1666.

More information:

Ariz. bill would undercut endangered species protections

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Tell Gov. Ducey & Your State Reps: No Monopolies for Utilities

Ask Gov. Ducey To Veto Power Grab By Monopoly Utilities!

HB2686 building permits; utilities; restrictions; prohibitions (Bowers) is being promoted by Southwest Gas to prohibit action by local government to limit extension of gas lines in areas for new construction and limit gas hookups in new construction. The bill is now on the Governor's desk.

We need strong local democracy that is responsive to protecting citizens. HB2686 restricts the ability of local governments to best meet the needs of their residents. The one size fits all approach proposed by HB2686 limits cities’ and counties’ ability to pursue policies that protect our health and put financial resources back in the hands of local families and businesses.

Building codes that emphasize energy efficiency and appliance standards have consistently saved individuals and families money. The Rocky Mountain Institute found that the upfront costs for new fully electric buildings are as much as 30 percent cheaper than a combination of electricity and natural gas, even in cold climates, such as northern Arizona.

Please support local communities in protecting the health of their residents and ask Governor Ducey to veto HB268

Find Sierra Club Action here. 


Our voices, Our vote for the Arizona Corporation Commission!

Some Arizona Legislators think that the people of Arizona should no longer be able to elect candidates to the Arizona Corporation Commission, the entity that regulates monopoly utilities. They want us to instead agree to allow the Governor to appoint those positions. Please contact your House members today and ask them to vote NO on HCR2041

Weigh in @State Legislature's online Request to Speak System. 

At 11:30 AM Tuesday, February 25th, the Senate Committee on Appropriations at  will consider a strike everything on a energy, consumer protection.

SCR1010 bond elections; technical correction (Gowan) will have a strike-everything added on energy; consumer protection. The striker would refer to the ballot a constitutional amendment to limit cost recovery for renewable energy and electric vehicle charging stations. Clearly the Arizona Legislature is interested in getting in the way of progress on clean renewable energy, including that generated on your rooftop. OPPOSE.

If you are signed up for the Request to Speak, login in here. 

If not, find the directions for signing up and navigating the system here.  

There will be future opportunities to weigh in on bills while they are in committee. Check back on Desktop Activist Tucson for more Request to Speak Actions. 

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 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. Do that right away before it expires. 

(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 the date and time, and the bill number. After clicking on New Request, just cut and paste the bill number on the line provided. 

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.