Originally published Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 05:34p.m.

Arizona legislators and the governor did not do the environment any favors this past year, according to Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter director and designated state capitol advocate.

Bahr spoke to about 40 people Jan. 18 at her annual Environmental Report Card presentation.

Drought in Arizona

Learn about Arizona’s drought conditions from Dr. Michael Crimmins, Climate Science Extension specialist and associate professor at University of Arizona, from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 9, at the monthly Citizens Water Advocacy Group meeting at the Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 882 Sunset Ave., Prescott.

Each year, the Sierra Club looks at House and Senate bills, approved or not, and the measures that were introduced but not heard, focusing on energy, water, campaign disclosure, clean elections, and several other issues. They graded legislators on how they voted on nine or 10 bills, two or three referenda and one memorial.

Gov. Doug Ducey’s grade, like last year’s, was an F.

Sen. Karen Fann received her eighth consecutive F while in public office. Rep. Noel Campbell received a D, up from an F last year. Rep. David Stringer received his second of two Fs.

“Senator Fann, her word is ‘respect.’ Let’s hold her to it,” Bahr said, requesting that Fann respect the environment. Bahr added that Fann “is always willing to meet with people.”

A positive in legislative action, according to the report, was one rejected referral to change the Independent Redistricting Commission, which would have diluted the voices of Native American tribes. Another bill died in the House Rules Committee that promoted efforts for the State to take control of federal public lands.

On the negative side, the Legislature passed, and the governor signed, a big tax break for Peabody Energy, which allows the organization to avoid paying transaction privilege tax on coal from the Kayenta Mine, costing the state more than $12 million.

Sen. Dalessandro Mendez, District 2, received an A+, which indicates she voted pro-environment 100 percent of the time; 32 others earned an A.

SUMMARY OF BILLS

The Sierra Club was opposed to bills that weakened or dismantled environmental protection and conservation programs. It did not support the following action.

Legislators approved a bill that increases the maximum width of ATVs from 65 to 80 inches and weight from 1,800 to 2,500 pounds, allowing vehicles on trails not designed for them.

Senate Bill 1494 was approved, which gives the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) permission to develop a program to permit underground injection wells. The Sierra Club report has concerns about potential contamination of drinking water.

The misnamed Saving American’s Endangered Species Act removes federal protections from non-native species that are listed as threatened or endangered. Arizona is asking Congress to pass this Act.

ENVIRONMENT DAY

The majority of Bahr’s presentation described the process in which a bill becomes a law. She also talked about how to communicate effectively with legislators and described how the state’s Request to Speak system works.

Bahr invited all to attend the Environment Day at the Arizona Capitol that takes place from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13. The theme for the day is the Five Cs for a Sustainable Future which include:

• Climate Preparedness.

• Clean Air and Water for All Arizonans.

• Conservation of Lands, Waters and Wildlife.

• Commitment to Efficient and Renewable Energy.

• Cultural Inclusiveness and Diversity.

Admission to this event that connects environmental organizations with legislators is free and open to the public. To RSVP or for more information about carpooling, email yavapaisierra@gmail.com.

Follow Sue Tone on Twitter @ToneNotes. Reach her at stone@prescottaz.com or 928-445-3333, ext. 2043.