Author Archives: Jana Segal

Applications for PAG Citizen Advisory Committee on the Regional Transit Authority

Pima Association of Governments Citizen Advisory Committee

Work is now beginning on the formation of the regional 2045 long-range transportation plan. Also known as the 2045 RMAP (Regional Mobility and Accessibility Plan), PAG is now looking for citizens who want to invest their time in the planning effort.

The work is aimed at identifying the long-term transportation needs of the region. Over time though, the Citizen Advisory Committee will work with the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) on framing the continuation of the RTA. It expires in 2026 and will need to go back to the voters for re-approval. What the RTA responsibilities are, and how much the sales tax is going to be are all a part of this reauthorization planning effort.

If you’d like to get involved in this planning work, you need to get your application in by 5pm on Thursday, April 19th. To find out more information on the process go to their website at www.pagregion.com, or www.rtamobility.com. You can also call Paki Rico for more information at 495.1450.

Neighbors Protest Installation of TEP’s Polluting Generators

Protesting TEP’s petition to install gas-fired engines

50 people from the neighborhood showed up to protest the gas-fired engines being installed at Tucson’s Sundt Generating Station.  The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality’s (PDEQ) held a public hearing on TEP’s plan to replace two 1950s era steam units with ten natural gas-fired combustion engines. Several members of our community spoke about how carbon dioxide from the engines would speed up climate change and how that would devastate our city.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, TEP’s proposed engines are fossil-fuel based generating units that would create significant greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Pima Department of Environmental Quality, the project expects to cause an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds.

But those comments could have no impact. We were limited to commenting on how TEP’s permit meets the criteria for issuance prescribed in the Arizona Revised Statutes, Section § 49-481 of the Pima County Code.  All those important comments about climate change were disregarded because CO2 isn’t included in Pima’s code. (I know! I couldn’t believe it either!) EPA administer Scott Pruitt is working on repealing the Clean Power Plan.  (Sign a letter opposing it here.)

A few of us from Sustainable Tucson’s Environmental advocacy group and the Sierra Club spent hours combing through Pima’s code — trying to find some inconsistencies or anything we can use stop the PDEQ from issuing a permit for the RICE engines.
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Quick Response Action: Register Your Opposition To The Unconstitutional Amendment To HCR 2017

Arizona State Appropriation Committe

Arizona State Appropriation Committee

The APS and their supporters at the Capitol are back with another proposal to subvert the initiative process and confuse voters. Late last week, HCR2017 was subject to a strike-everything amendment, offered by Senator John Kavanagh.

HCR2017 would now propose a constitutional amendment virtually identical to the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” initiative, but with a loophole that would allow the Corporation Commission to not actually increase the renewable energy standards. Under HCR2017, the Corporation Commission would NOT be bound to enforce higher renewable energy standards.

Designed to confuse voters

The amendment is designed to confuse voters. Even its name is nearly identical to the original initiative. This underhanded trick is absolutely shameless and shows total contempt for the initiative process.

HCR2017 will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee at 2 p.m. TODAY, Tuesday, March 27th.  My state senator Steve Farley (from district 9) is on that committee, so I e-mailed him this morning. (See below.). If you live in any of the members’ districts, please contact them to voice your opinion.

There is still time for you to write your senator and/or register your opposition on the Request to Speak system before the meeting.

Directions for Request to Speak here: https://desktopactivisttucson.blogspot.com/2018/03/request-to-speak-time.html

If you aren’t sure which district you live in, you can find out herehttps://www.azleg.gov/findmylegislator/

John Kavanagh (Chair) LD 23 R (602) 926-5170 jkavanagh@azleg.gov
Warren Peterson (Vice Chair) LD 17 R (602) 926-4136 wpetersen@azleg.gov
Karen Fann LD 1 R (602) 926-5874 kfann@azleg.gov
Sonny Borrelli LD 5 R (602) 926-5051 sborrelli@azleg.gov
Sylvia Allen LD 6 R (602) 926-5409 sallen@azleg.gov
Steve Smith LD 11 R (602) 926-5685 stsmith@azleg.gov
Olivia Cajero Bedford LD 3 D (602) 926-5835 ocajerobedford@azleg.gov
Steve Farley LD 9 D (602) 926-3022 sfarley@azleg.gov
Katie Hobbs LD 24 D (602) 926-5325 khobbs@azleg.gov
Martin Quezada LD 29 D (602) 926-5911 mquezada@azleg.gov

Use the legislature’s Request to Speak system to log in and voice your opinion on these bills. If you don’t have a Request to Speak account yet, sign up for one here

Feel free to use my e-mail as a starting point. But, please, rewrite it a bit leaving out that you met with him at Environmental Day if you didn’t.

Note: If you have a Republican senator, you might want to tell them that you value the initiative process guaranteed by the Arizona Constitution and urge them to oppose the amendment on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.

My letter for inspiration: 

Dear Senator Farley,

When we met with you in your office during Environmental Day, I promised to put together a group of sustainability advocates who would support your actions in protecting our environment. I have since put together that group and I’m proud to say that it is growing every day.

Today I am writing to show our support of your opposition to HCR 2017. As you know, Senator John Kavanagh offered a strike-everything amendment to HCR 2017 that proposes a constitutional amendment nearly identical to the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” initiative, but with a loophole that would allow the Corporation Commission to not actually increase the renewable energy standards. Under HCR 2017, the Corporation Commission would NOT be bound to enforce higher renewable energy standards and we find that unacceptable. In addition, that amendment is obviously designed to confuse voters. Even its name is nearly identical to the original initiative’s. This kind of underhanded trick shows total contempt for the initiative process detailed in our state constitution.

I wanted to let you know that your constituents are paying attention and we find this kind of trickery unacceptable and the amendment unconstitutional.

Thank you for your support of sound environmental policies and initiatives.

Plan to Modernize TEP Power Plant in Tucson will Produce More Air Pollution

TEP's Sundt generating station on Irvington Road in Tucson.

TEP’s Sundt generating station on Irvington Road on Tucson’s south side.

Tucson Electric Power is proposing to modernize the Sundt Generating Station  at 4120 E Irvington Rd. in Tucson by replacing two 1950’s era steam units with 10 natural gas-fired combustion engines. The purpose of the new engines is to ramp up more quickly and to balance the variability associated with solar and wind energy generation. But all that ramping spouts more pollution into the air than the current steam units.

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 Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine (“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.

Over a third of carbon dioxide emissions in the US are from power plants.
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