Arizona falls short on Sierra Club’s Environmental Report Card

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The Sierra Club recently released its 2022 Environmental Report Card for the Arizona Legislature and Governor. Sandy Bahr, chapter director of Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, explains where Arizona has fallen short this year.

The Sierra Club’s report says the 2022 Legislative Session was unproductive regarding the major environmental issues facing the state. There was limited action on climate, no action on environmental justice, and another step backward on water. These issues are important and should not be ignored by legislatures, according to Bahr.

“We hope that the lawmakers will look at these issues and understand how important they are,” Bahr said.

The governor was given an “F” grade on addressing these issues, which has been a fairly consistent response.

“He’s shown really no leadership on environmental protection, and even on something like water, his big issue was ‘let’s get a bunch of money approved for desalination’ which is just ludicrous, expensive, very far out and energy intensive,” Bahr said. He was focused on this rather than what we can do to conserve water in Arizona.

Promoting water augmentation, according to Bahr, sent the message that it was okay to continue business as usual. This means that what the governor and legislature promoted is that nothing needed to be changed, including limiting groundwater pumping or how water is being wasted.

While there was some conservation funding added to the budget, Bahr argues that it is being overshadowed by the money designated for augmentation.

Legislatures were graded on action, democracy bills, the anti-voter and anti-citizen initiative bills, and other various water bills that did not do much to help. These water bills were passed in the House but stopped in the Senate, however the legislature was graded on these bills as well.

Bills to address climate resiliency, limit groundwater exploitation or sustain flowing rivers were again stopped. The bill to establish Rural Management Areas for groundwater could not make it out of the House.

Sandy Bahr, Chapter Director of the the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter

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