Author Archives: Jana Segal

City Council, Stop allowing City Maintenance to Poison Tucson

It’s no secret my fondness for edible weeds or my complete disdain for Round Up. I hung a sign in the alleyway, “No Poison, Please. Edible Weeds Grow Here.” I’ve done my best to educate the poor, misguided landscapers and maintenance workers who spray Round Up on every little weed and even baby palm trees. (Won’t kill ’em anyway…) Sometimes I’m more successful than others. At a recent city council meeting, a woman took advantage of the public hearing period to urge the council to stop weeds from coming up this monsoon season by spraying pre-emergent herbicide all over town. Right then and there I decided to use my time to speak up about it. But Mayor Rothschild, in his great wisdom, had me speak on my other issue instead. That was just the nudge I needed to share my concerns with him and all the city council members in great detail… including links. lol

Feel free to write your Council Member too!

Find your ward here.

Contact info for Council Members here

Following the city’s example

Dear Mayor Jonathon Rothschild and Council Members:

I’ve been meaning to speak up at a city council meeting about the transportation department’s overuse of herbicides for some time. After my mom got a severe headache from breathing in the Round Up sprayed in a right of way on our street, I spoke to the landscaper about it. He replied, “The city sprays it everywhere, so can we.”

Since then I have been very aware of herbicides sprayed on city property. The other day I was stunned to see an entire lot covered with it. Recently I walked by the County Public Service Center building. In the catchment basins – that should be an example of the best water-harvesting practices – there were turquoise patches of weed killer. Right where the rainwater sinks in to restore our aquifer! I brought this up to t
Department of Environmental Quality just to be told that was the work of the city maintenance department.

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Good News at the End of Legislative Session!

Environmental Day at the AZ State Capital

I guess we all can use some good news…

First, I want to thank all of you who signed or shared Sustainable Tucson’s letter to TEP asking the company to transition faster to clean energy and not install the 10 RICE gas-fired engines. Barbara L. Sherry and Billy Kovacs US Democratic Congressional Candidates AZ 02 came through for us!

The Arizona state legislative session has ended and we have some good reasons to celebrate! Our advocacy paid off with several of the bills that we opposed not passing! Yay!

Advocates! We saved a seat for you!

Partner in advocacy Sandy Bahr shared the Sierra Club’s legislative report:

On the good news front, the Arizona Legislature did not refer HCR2017 Now: renewable energy standards; corporation commission. This proposed legislative referral intended to confuse voters and compete with and block the citizen initiative, Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, which seeks to increase our renewable energy standard to 50 percent by 2030.

None of the remaining bad water bills advanced this session! Thanks to everyone who helped keep up the pressure and make it known that backsliding is not acceptable when it comes to water adequacy and protection of the San Pedro River.

HB2512 water program amendments (Bowers) is a water omnibus bill that contains a number of provisions, but the most harmful aspect would weaken adequacy requirements for areas such as Cochise County and could cause further harm to the San Pedro River. This bill died in the Senate as it did not go to Committee of the Whole.

HB2553 adequate water supply; county review (Bowers) is a stand-alone bill for weakening the adequacy requirements for areas such as Cochise County and further threatening the San Pedro River. This also died due to lack of action in the Senate COW.

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Protect Archaeological Discoveries – Ask Governor to Veto HB2498

Archaeological finds played a big part in Tucson’s designation as a City of Gastronomy – which has increased tourism. Now new discoveries are in jeopardy!

According to the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club’s legislative update:

HB2498 historic preservation; rangeland improvements; requirements passed out of the Arizona House 31-28-1. It weakens protections for cultural resources by allowing those with minimal training to provide the required review. Representative Cook’s comments to muscle this through at the end were pretty offensive. He basically said Arizona was focusing too much on the tribal history. This bill should be on the Governor’s veto list!

I personalized the Sierra Club’s message to Governor Ducey by adding a paragraph of my own (in bold below). You can submit your own message to :

https://azgovernor.gov/engage/form/contact-governor-ducey

Or e-mail it: engage@az.gov

Please veto HB2498 (historic preservation; rangeland improvements; requirements).

Dear Governor Ducey,

One of the biggest booms to Tucson’s economy has been the increased tourism created by its designation as a City of Gastronomy. Tucson is the first place in the United States to be honored with the City of Gastronomy designation. One of the reasons is because Tucson is the longest continually cultivated location in the United States (4,100 confirmed years of agriculture here in the Tucson basin.) How do we know that? Because of the archaeological finds near the Santa Cruz. Tucson has profited greatly from those and other archaeological finds. We can’t leave future discoveries in the hands of amateurs.

HB2498 is opposed by many tribal nations and archaeologists throughout Arizona. The bill requires a so-called streamlined cultural resource protection report relative to ”rangeland improvement projects,” which could include roads, fences, and more. This bill allows people with little experience or training to provide these reports, putting at risk cultural resources.

HB2498 limits the State Historic Preservation Office’s (SHPO) ability to protect cultural resources relative to activities that are defined as rangeland improvements and could mean Arizona is not in compliance with §106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

It is not always easy to recognize important historic and cultural sites, which is why there should be someone who is well-trained to do so performing the work and issuing the reports.

Thank you for considering my comments,
(Your name and location here)

You can also try calling:

Phone‎: ‎602.542.4331
Fax‎: ‎602-542-1381

For fun and inspiration, read more:

6 Things Archaeologists Discovered In Arizona That May Surprise You

For the Love of Tucson: Sign the Community Letter to the President of TEP

Looking ahead to a bright future for Tucson

“We are looking ahead, as is one of the first mandates given us as chiefs, to make sure and to make every decision that we make relate to the welfare and well-being of the seventh generation to come.” – Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons

Climate change is real and it’s progressing faster than scientists first predicted. We aren’t talking about some distant dilemma. The devastating impacts are already being felt around the world. In Tucson, we are experiencing record temperatures – every year hotter than the last. There is no more time to waste. We need to get carbon dioxide below 350 ppm immediately.

Sustainable Tucson is greatly concerned about TEP’s unambitious goal of transitioning to 30% clean energy by 2030. TEP is proposing modernizing the Sundt Generating Station by replacing two 1950’s era steam units with ten natural gas-fired combustion engines. These RICE units would create significant greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, the project expects to cause an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter (fine particles PM2.5 and coarse particles PM10) and volatile organic compounds.

Renewable energy, supplemented by energy storage systems, is a better option for many reasons. But TEP has refused to consider it – even though the Arizona Corporation Commission strongly urged TEP to turn in this direction.

Our advocacy team and other community members have been actively fighting the permit process for installation of the RICE units. Duane Ediger took a week off of work to study the TEP’s permit to see if it met the Pima County code. With the help of the Sierra Club, Duane uncovered some inconsistencies that he shared with the community so we could submit relevant comments to the Pima Department of Environmental Quality.

While awaiting a response, Duane worked with Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, Sustainable Tucson, and Arizona Interfaith Power and Light to draft a public letter to David G. Hutchens, President of Tucson Electric Power Company.

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Broadmoor Broadway Village Neighborhood, a pioneer in urban forestry, fights to stave off development

You might have noticed the lovely Broadmoor Broadway Village Neighborhood located in central Tucson just south of Broadway between Tucson Boulevard and Country Club Roads. But did you know that Broadmoor Broadway Village is a historic showcase of how a neighborhood can be transformed into a colorful community gathering place? Reading the history of the Treat Walkway is practically a step by step guide for growing and maintaining green infrastructure and livable streets!

The neighborhood’s journey is an inspiring example of what can be done when a group of dedicated people work together with landscaping experts, neighborhood artists, and the city to create walkable/bikeable streets shaded by desert trees where neighbors can enjoy being outside and being together. These neighbors didn’t just build a walkway, they built a caring community.

According to Broadmoor neighbor Richard Roati, when Broadmoor Broadway Village became an official neighborhood under the leadership of neighborhood President Connie Anzalone in the 1980’s, improving the Treat Walkway was made part of the neighborhood’s strategic plan. They prioritized the living environment of the neighborhood. In 1987, Connie Anzalone wrote the “Broadmoor Broadway Village Urban Forestry Manual.” Long before “Climate Change” became a household word, Connie defined why the greening of in-town neighborhoods should be a priority for the City of Tucson.

Let us show the City of Tucson that progress for the future is not only big business, high density living quarters and more transportation routes. It can also be producing life-giving oxygen to improve air quality in a congested urban area. It can also be providing a system of roots to aerate the soil to accept rainwater and prevent erosion. It can be providing homes for wildlife to maintain a better balance in nature… Bare spaces can be augmented with even the most simple easy care things like a Palo Verde tree, a desert broom bush, succulents that never need watering like prickly pear bush, agaves or aloes, or a dish garden.

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My letter to the City Council urging them to fight against TEP’s gas-fired generators

I want to thank everyone who took a stand against TEP’s proposed RICE gas-fired generators. We are awaiting responses from the Pima Department of Environmental Quality regarding our comments. I’m afraid this is just the beginning….

Here is my e-mail to Mayor Rothschild and the Tucson City Council members detailing our efforts and asking for them to join the good fight. I hope this inspires you to write a letter to your council member (maybe not so long…lol)

Find your City Council Member here.

Find which ward you are in here.

Dear City Council Member_____,

The city council committed to support the Paris Climate Agreement and take steps to combat climate change. But it will take a more proactive approach than adding some solar panels on city property or installing a few water recharge basins.

With some strong leadership, Tucson could become a model for sustainable practices. An oasis in the desert. A destination for ecological tourism. But none of this will be possible if we continue to accelerate climate change by allowing TEP to install 10 gas-fired RICE generators, encouraging our car culture by widening roads, and approving perpetual development (beyond what our annual rains can sustain.)

First things first. As you know, TEP is proposing modernizing the Sundt Generating Station by replacing two 1950’s era steam units with ten natural gas fired combustion engines. The purpose of the new generators is to ramp up more quickly and to balance the variability associated with solar and wind energy generation. TEP claims that these units are part of a larger goal for 30% renewable energy by 2030. But gas fired engines should not be equated with clean, renewable power from wind and solar. The RICE units are fossil-fuel based generating units that would create significant greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, the project expects to cause an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter (fine particles PM2.5 and coarse particles PM10) and volatile organic compounds.

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