Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Ask Congress to stand against rollback of Clean Car Standards

As a country, we’re worried about the health & safety of our friends and loved ones. We’re focused on making sure that our communities can weather the seemingly unavoidable economic downturn – and come out of this in a safer, healthier world.

These are the priorities of the public – and they should be the priorities of our government.

But while we’re focused on one of the biggest crises our country has ever faced, the Trump administration is exploiting this moment to finalize its profoundly damaging rollback of our nation’s Clean Car Standards – a decision that won’t just create more pollution and boost our dependence on foreign oil, but will cause thousands of premature deaths, cost Americans hundreds of billions of dollars, and eliminate at least tens of thousands of jobs.

- Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

Send the following message to your Members of Congress by clicking here


Americans are focused on a crisis. Our top priority is making sure our loved ones are safe and our communities are protected from the economic downturn -- and come out of this in a healthier, safer, cleaner world. We expect the same of our government.

There is never a good time to implement policies that will damage our public health, cost American jobs, and hit us in our wallets, but that is especially the case now.

Yet that’s just what the Trump administration did, as they finalized the rollback of the Clean Car Standards. These protections were adopted a decade ago, during a recession, with the full support of the auto industry. According to an analysis from Environmental Defense Fund, over the next decade, rolling back these protections won’t just add an additional 1.5 billion metric tons of climate pollution to the air and add to our dependence on foreign oil -- it will cost Americans $244 billion at the gas pump.

And according to EPA’s own analysis of their proposal, it would cost Americans 60,000 jobs. And independent analysis from Blue Green Alliance found that number to be higher – as many as 200,000 jobs.

This is not what our economy needs in this moment of crisis. Please stand strongly against this attack on our protections.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Halt border wall construction during COVID-19 emergency

Today, the Texas Civil Rights Project sent a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Defense demanding that they halt all border wall construction to save lives during the pandemic.  They were joined in this letter by over 100+ groups, spanning environmental, immigration, civil rights, and faith-based organizations among others. See the press release below!

Sign this petition to stop construction now and keep border residents safe from this administration!

Find our petition here.

Here's a Facebook post about our letter and tweet you can share right now!

- Robert Lopez.Texas Civil Rights Project

To view this discussion on the web: 

More information:

Land possessions continue as Trump declares COVID-19 national emergency

Eminent domain attorneys and advocates demand Administration to stop border wall construction, so landowners can shelter in place

Read the letter here.

Alamo, Tex. – Today, leaders from 109 state and national civil rights, immigration, religious and environmental organizations sent Attorney General William Barr, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, a letter demanding they halt land possession and construction related to the border wall during the COVID-19 national emergency.

In the last week, the federal government has filed new condemnations and a motion for immediate possession, arguing that they need access to landowners’ property urgently, to send surveyors and contractors to their house in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. In eminent domain cases such as these, the government sues the landowner for rights to their land.

“These takings are directly affecting people’s homes,” said Efrén Olivares, the Legal Director of the Racial and Economic Justice Program at the Texas Civil Rights Project, who represents landowners in the path of the border wall. “These clients live on this land. They want to send contractors to come in and take their homes while we’re supposed to be sheltering in place. It’s unbelievable.”

One of the landowners sued by the government last week is over 70, and another, Nayda Alvarez, has been sick multiple times this year. The Texas Civil Rights Project represents these landowners jointly with the ACLU of Texas.

“There has been no transparency and we have been intimidated by the government to sign over rights to our land,” said Alvarez, a teacher whose family has lived in Starr County for five generations. “We have been talked down to by government officials who think we are not aware of our rights.” Alvarez painted “No Border Wall” on the roof of her house in protest.

“When my mother was on her deathbed, government officials continued to call and were still asking us to sign over our land. I had to remind them that my mother was dying of cancer in order to stop the calls.”

“How can border residents meaningfully and thoughtfully engage in eminent domain processes in a crisis like this?” said Norma Herrera, community organizer for the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network. “They’re taking advantage.”

Nearly 68,500 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed across the country, including 994 fatalities. In many of the counties where border wall construction is ongoing, local governments have issued emergency declarations, in accordance with guidance from federal and state public health authorities, banning gatherings of ten or more individuals. California, for example, is now under statewide orders to “shelter in place” at home.

“In the border communities we represent, these extraordinary actions by the federal government are quite literally endangering the lives of border residents,” said Tricia Cortez, Executive Director of the Rio Grande International Study Center.

“Instead of constructing barriers, the Army Corps of Engineers should use its limited resources to fight the pandemic,” said Vicki B. Gaubeca, Director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, who are signees of the letter. “Untold lives could be saved if they would hurry and build hospitals or clinics instead.”

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Tell Arizona Corporation Commission we need more rooftop solar

Tell the Arizona Corporation Commission that we want rooftop solar to be more accessible in AZ

Solar United Neighbors has joined forces with Vote Solar and consumer and business groups, faith leaders, tribal communities, and health and conservation organizations to call for more rooftop solar in our state.

This powerful coalition is urging the Arizona Corporation Commission to adopt a clean energy plan that ensures that 10% of the state’s electricity comes from local distributed resources like rooftop solar, and other customer-driven energy options by 2030. The plan also sets a statewide renewable energy goal of 50% by 2030, moving toward 100% clean energy by 2045.

Now is the time for Arizona solar advocates, like you, to tell the ACC commissioners that powering our households and businesses with homegrown, clean energy lowers and stabilizes electricity costs while boosting our economy with clean energy jobs across the state.

Please make your voice heard by signing this petition, please forward this message to your friends and neighbors. 

Sign the petition (below) by clicking here


Dear Commissioners,

I’m an Arizona energy customer, and I support clean energy progress and solar rights in our state.In Docket RU-00000A-18-0284, I urge you to make a bold commitment to renewable energy and expand consumer clean energy options by:
  • Setting a binding 50% by 2030 renewable energy standard and 100% by 2045 clean standard.
  • Ensuring that 10% of electricity comes from local distributed resources like rooftop solar, and other customer-driven energy options by 2030.
  • Ensuring cumulative energy efficiency savings of 35% by 2030.
  • Establishing more comprehensive and transparent energy planning process in which the ACC would review a utility’s Integrated Resource Plan and provide opportunities for public and stakeholder input.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Ask AZ Reps to protect citizens during COVID-19 outbreak

I am sharing the following action from Victoria Steele, member of the Arizona State Senate representing District 9.

"I am calling for my Republican colleagues in the Arizona Legislature that in addition to a bare-bones budget, we move to immediately:

Impose a moratorium on rent increases, foreclosures, evictions, and utility shutoffs during the pandemic

Funding to offset out of pocket costs and assist uninsured people in accessing COVID-19 testing

Provide supports for nursing homes and assisted living facilities and the people who are working in those facilities

Make funding easily available to allow sick leave for all public workers who are under quarantine or sick

Supply additional resources for food banks

Extended medication and medical supplies for individuals recommended to self-isolate

Streamline unemployment benefits and TANF applications for those who are laid off

If these things are important to you - please let all of your Legislators know now! Call and email them: www.AZleg.gov "

To find out who your legislator is, first find your district.

Use that district to find your Reps:

Use that district to find your Senator. 

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Request to Speak Actions for the Week of March 16th

Due to the Corona Virus, the Sierra Club is ramping down in-person activities, but they will continue to do what they can to keep us informed and will be monitoring activities at the Capitol. Unfortunately, the Arizona Legislature is closing off access to the House and Senate galleries and limiting public testimony at committee hearings. Sadly, they are continuing to meet and will advance some bad bills. Our one recourse is the Request to Speak App.

If you are signed up for the Request to Speak system, please sign in and weigh into the following bills before they go to a vote at the hearing scheduled below.

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.

Coming up this week at the Legislature

Monday, March 16th

Senate Committee on Government at 2:00 P.M. 
  • HB2589 land divisions; county regulation; surveys (Griffin: Dunn, Nutt, et al.) This bill appears to be nothing more than a giveaway to land speculators. It would allow someone to buy a parcel of land, subdivide it, sell the plots, and get building permits without ever putting in any infrastructure (including roads to the plots), without even having to do a survey of the land, and without paying any property taxes on the land. The only people this bill would help would be speculators (many of whom are probably not even in Arizona...or the US) and it would encourage wholesale development of open spaces. OPPOSE
Tuesday, March 17th

House Committee on Natural Resources, Energy & Water at 2:00 P.M. 
  • SB1350 state parks; lottery; heritage fund (Brophy McGee: Bowie) appropriates $1 million annually from the state lottery for the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund. The lottery was the original funding source for the State Parks Heritage Fund, so it is appropriate to have the funds come from here. This differs from HB2551 in that HB2551 has a $10 million one-time appropriation from the General Fund. SUPPORT
Wednesday, March 18th

Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy at 2:00 P.M.
  • HCR2014 hardrock mining industry; recognition (Griffin) Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona, the Senate concurring: That the Members of the Legislature recognize the importance of the hardrock mining industry to Arizona's economy and support the involvement of Arizona's government and the hardrock mining industry in any future regulatory changes to ensure that operations continue to be safe and productive for the State of Arizona. OPPOSE 
Senate Committee on Federal Relations at 2:00 P.M. 
  • SCR1044 supporting border security (Mesnard) is a fear mongering measure supporting federal border efforts full of lies and xenophobic rhertoric. Read it for yourself and then OPPOSE.
Senate Committee on Water and Agriculture at 10:00 A.M. 
  • HCM2009 floodwater harvesting; study; urging Congress asks that the United States Congress fund a technological and feasibility study of the development of a diversion dam and pipeline to harvest floodwater from the Mississippi River to replenish the Colorado River and prevent flood damage along the Mississippi River. That, if shown to be feasible, the United States Congress implement the diversion dam and pipeline as a partial solution to the water supply shortage in Lake Powell and Lake Mead and the flood damage that occurs along the Mississippi River. OPPOSE.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Ask Your State Senator to Protect Direct Democracy through Citizens' Initiatives

Over the past two decades, Arizona legislators have run measures each session aimed at decimating our state’s citizen initiative and referendum process. These bills not only dismantle citizens’ rights, but they can potentially harm animals, including wildlife, and parks and natural areas on a large scale.

Arizona’s ballot measure process is a constitutional right enacted at statehood in 1912. One of our founders’ biggest concerns was the right to pass laws through citizens' initiatives. (The first citizen initiative passed in Arizona recognized women’s right to vote.)

SCR1020 initiatives; public safety; health; amendmentsThis bill is yet another attempt to take away the power of the citizens' initiative that is a hallmark of the Arizona Constitution. If passed, SCR1020 would allow the legislature to replace an approved citizens' initiative with new legislation after one year. The only requirement is that the initiative be related to public health or safety. The replacement legislation would only require a simple majority of both houses and would not have to be a furtherance of the original legislation. It would allow the Legislature to defund or eviscerate important public health and safety measures, including those related to environmental protection. In other words, if a citizens initiative required the state of Arizona to move to 100% renewable energy by 2050, the legislature could replace that initiative a year later, by a simple majority, with new legislation removing the requirement to move to renewable energy and could even replace it with a new statute mandating coal mining and fracking.

Ask Your Senator to Protect Direct Democracy and vote NO on SCR1020 using the take action button below! Or you can contact your Senator directly. 


To find out what district you belong use the district locator

Look up your Senator and their contact information on the member roster here

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Stakeholder Workshop on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Standards

Support a Renewable Energy Standard of 50 percent renewables by 2030, an Energy Efficiency Standard of 35 percent by 2030, and a just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy and an investment in communities that disparately affected by coal and gas retirements.
Renewable energy is a key component of Arizona’s energy future and offers a great opportunity for our state to develop a stronger and more sustainable economy. In addition to the enormous environmental benefits it affords – clean air, clean water, reduced carbon emissions, and low water use – it is also increasingly economical. According to data compiled and analyzed by Lazard, the cost of solar photovoltaic fell 88 percent from 2009-2018[i] and the cost of wind fell 69 percent.
Energy Efficiency continues to be the most cost-effective and cleanest thing we can do. Investing in energy savings also is good for consumers.
Please attend one or both days of these workshops. Your presence will help demonstrate support for truly clean energy. You can also speak up and comment, if you are willing, but just being there is important. Thank you!
Tue, Mar 10, 2020 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
1300 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85007, USA
Arizona Corporation Commission Workshop on renewable energy, energy efficiency, just transition, and resource planning. It will start at 10:00 A.M. There will also be a news conference at 9:00 A.M. in the Rose Garden at the Capitol, after which we will head over to the workshop. Please come if you can. Here is a link to RSVP and also a link to the Facebook event.

Organized By: Grand Canyon Chapter

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Request to Speak on Environmental Bills at the State Legislature

Image result for jaguar by water
Last week some regressive and harmful legislation advanced in the state legislature - including the endangered species secrecy bill. It is now on Governor Ducey's desk, so please contact him and ask him to veto it. 

Gov. Doug Ducey: (602) 542-4331

This week there are several environmental bills being heard in committee at the State Legislature that you can weigh on at the Request to Speak System. I find it easiest to just do it all at one time so I won't forget those later in the week.  And two important bills are being heard on Thursday: HCR2030 (that weakens our ability to do citizens initiatives)  and HB2880 (that weakens regulations on assured water supply.)

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

Click on the blue Request to Speak button and then New Requests in the right column. Then paste the bill number. 

If you are not signed up,  find the directions for signing up and navigating the system here.  .
Wednesday, March 11th

Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy at 2:00 P.M. 
  • HB2455 air quality omnibus (Griffin) moves the Voluntary Vehicle Repair and Retrofit program from the counties to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. This is a plus as the program had not been operational in recent years and it helps people fix their cars so they do not pollute as much. Vehicles no longer have to be 12 years or older to qualify for assistance. It reduces the co-pay, raises the cap on costs for ineligibility, and allows ADEQ to focus research on emissions rather than on alternative fuels. SUPPORT.
  • HB2497 lawn equipment emissions reduction program (Dunn: Biasiucci, Finchem, et al.) allows for a $100 voucher for those who replace gasoline mowers with a manual mower. Currently, the voucher is only available for electric mowers. SUPPORT.
Thursday, March 12th

Senate Committee on Judiciary at 9:30 A.M. 

  • HCR2032 initiative; single subject; title (Kern: Allen J, Barto, et al.) refers to the ballot a measure that narrows what can be included in a ballot measure and requires every subject to be in the title. This would make it impossible to place something on the ballot that is comprehensive, including environmental protection measures, and would mean a series of ballot measures. Considering how expensive it is already to propose a measure, this proposal would put the initiative process even further in the hands of only those with the deepest pockets. OPPOSE .
Senate Committee on Water and Agriculture at 10:00 A.M. 
  • HB2880 assured water supply; availability; plats (Roberts: Finchem, Shope) prohibits the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) Director from reviewing the physical availability of groundwater if the application to modify or renew a determination of assured water supply that does not increase the total groundwater, among other things. This is a weakening of the determination of assured water supply. OPPOSE.

Democracy Threatened at the State Capitol: Request to Speak and Phone Call Actions

I hate to say it but some of our "Representatives" in the State Legislature have been busy trying to weaken our democracy. You can weigh in on their bills being heard in committee this week. (See committee hearing schedule below.)  

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

Click on the blue Request to Speak button and then New Requests in the right column. Then paste the bill number. 

If you are not signed up, find the directions for signing up and navigating the system here.  Then you'll be prepared for future Request to Speak actions in the coming weeks.. 

Another resolution to make it more difficult to put measures on the ballot -- HCR2039 -- passed out of the House along party lines. In order to propose an initiative, this bill requires that every legislative district must contribute their 1/30 share of the percentage of voters needed to place an initiative on the ballot or amend the constitution. In other words, if enough voters in Tucson and Phoenix support an initiative to get it put on the ballot, but not enough voters in King County support the initiative, then it can't be put on the ballot. Essentially, petitions will have to be circulated statewide and, if you fail to get enough signatures in one district, the initiative will fail to make the ballot - even if 90% of voters in the rest of the state signed the petition. This will make an initiative or constitutional amendment impossible to get on the ballot

If your legislators are Republicans, you may want to express your disappointment and tell them you support direct democracy. 

You can find out who your state legislators are here

You can find their contact information here

Weigh in on the following bills before they are voted on in committee: 

Monday, March 9th

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.
Tuesday, March 10th

House Committee on Elections at 2:00 P.M. 
  • SB1032 early voting; signature required; notice (Ugenti-Rita) limits the amount of time the County Recorders have to contact a voter about a missing signature on their early ballot and allow them the opportunity to sign it. Under this bill they would have until 7:00PM Election Day, which likely would not allow the county recorders enough time to reach everyone who inadvertently left off their signature. OPPOSE.
  • SB1434 recall petitions and elections; revisions (Gowan) makes it more difficult to recall elected officials. Rules they are adding for petitions to recall elected officials - including rules on who is circulating the petition, and ten conditions that allow them to disqualify signatures.  OPPOSE.
Thursday, March 12th

Senate Committee on Judiciary at 9:30 A.M. 

  • HCR2032 initiative; single subject; title (Kern: Allen J, Barto, et al.) refers to the ballot a measure that narrows what can be included in a ballot measure and requires every subject to be in the title. This would make it impossible to place something on the ballot that is comprehensive, including environmental protection measures, and would mean a series of ballot measures. Considering how expensive it is already to propose a measure, this proposal would put the initiative process even further in the hands of only those with the deepest pockets. OPPOSE .