Environmental advocates share their hopes for this new legislative session
We wrap up our conversations with advocates about their hopes for the upcoming legislative session by focusing tonight on environmental concerns. Our guests: Sandy Bahr, Director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club, and Pita Juarez, National Communications and Creative Strategies Director for CHISPA.
This new legislative session, “we want to see them ‘do no harm’, that’s a given, we don’t want to see them weaken our protections for water, we don’t want to see them erode more of our democracy with these voter suppression bills,” Bahr said.
She added that, “what we do want to see them do, is continue the Department of Environmental Quality…to hold that agency accountable and make sure that it is meeting the requirements in the law for water quality protection, which they’re not doing.”
Juarez agreed with what Bahr wants to see in this new legislative session, “I think that water is going to be crucial, it has been, but hopefully more attention to that and public lands and clean and renewable energy in a state like Arizona and hopefully those things come up this year where we’re able to hold either republican or democrat accountable for those choices.”
When it comes to these environmental issues, “there definitely is a hard, partisan divide. Unfortunately, much different than it used to be but you see the democratic bills that would advance limits on ground water pumping or promote flowing rivers, they don’t even get heard, let alone discussed,” Bahr said.
But when asked what the legislature can do, Juarez responded, “listen to its constituents, I think that we have seen a lot of environmental racism that happens where people don’t have clean water, clean air, where kids aren’t able to just go down the street where they live ride their bike and not have breathing problems.”