This week there are some bills that could affect our water being heard at the Arizona State Legislature.
The first action requires a quick phone call. Please, take a couple minutes to call your state Representatives before it goes to a vote (which could be anytime.)
The rest of the bills are being heard in committee. If you have registered for the Request to Speak, you can sign in on the system on the Arizona Legislature Website. You can weigh in on RTS anytime before or during that meeting. (See info below.)
There was a recent attempt to resurrect one of several bad water bills in the House. HB2609 Harquahala non-expansion area; groundwater transfer (Petersen: Cook) allows private water companies in the Harquahala Irrigation Non-expansion area (west of the Phoenix area) to withdraw water to a depth of 1,500 feet rather than 1,000 feet and transport it into an active management area. This violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the 1980 Arizona Groundwater Code and sets a terrible precedent for bypassing statewide groundwater management by importing water from areas outside the Active Management Areas. Speaker of the House, Rusty Bowers, is leading the effort to jam this through over the objections of La Paz County and any who are concerned about further privatizing water. Please call your representatives and ask them to oppose HB2609. If they say they are opposing it, thank them.
To find out who your Rep is, find your district: https://azredistricting.org/districtlocator/
Use that district to find the contact information for your Rep: https://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster/
REQUEST TO SPEAK ACTIONS:
If you have registered for Request to Speak, this is your opportunity to weigh in on the following bills this week. (See directions on RTS here.)
Wednesday, March 20th
Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy at 2:00 PM
HCM2003 uranium pollution; remediation (Thorpe) includes inaccurate information about uranium mining, turning it into a promotional for the mining industry. Encouraging cleanup is something we do support, but this memorial does not reference the need to get the mining companies to clean up their own messes, plus it says that there are no issues with “modern” uranium mining. (The current practice is for mines to become limited liability companies so they aren’t held responsible to clean up their own toxic tailings that seep into our waterways). OPPOSE.
Thursday, March 21st
Senate Committee on Water and Agriculture at 9:00 AM
HB2475 water use; criminal penalty; wells (Bowers) says if you take someone else’s water via a well, it is no longer a misdemeanor. This includes the subsurface flows of streams and rivers. Essentially, this would keep the law making it illegal to steal someone else’s water when it is on the surface, but legal to steal it if it’s below the surface. OPPOSE.
NOTE: I’ve found it easiest just to do all of the Request to Speak bills while I am in the system. Just click “another request.”
(To register for a Request to Speak account: http://www.cebv.us/. NOTE: It may take a day or two for someone to go to the capitol to sign you up, so do it now so you can still participate on Wednesday or Thursday.)