Arizona Legislators setting up a new Sustainability Work Group


What is a Sustainability Work Group and why are Arizona Legislators setting one up?

For now, the draft purpose statement of the group states that it is to:

“Work with businesses and sustainability organizations to develop a state sustainability plan for Arizona. Air quality, drought, fire, tourism, manufacturing, and transportation-these issues are related to each other. We need plans to both adapt to changes and to mitigate the causes of the problems. By working on adaptation plans, it could help people to see the need for mitigation.”

This new group currently has about 15 interested members. Legislative District 18 Representative Mitzi Epstein Legislative District Ten Representative Kirsten Engel and District Two State Senator Andrea Dalessandro, are the group’s leaders.

Arizona Legislative District 18 State Representative Mitzi Epstein

Representative Epstein explained her motivation for starting this Sustainability Work Group.

“When I drive north on I-10 and the brown cloud is visibly hanging over Camelback Mountain, I want to do something about it. I am lucky to have my parents and my husband’s mother and their friends in my life, even as they celebrate birthdays in their 80s and 90s. After a lifetime of being physically active, our elders often have breathing issues with COPD and such. My son and my friends with asthma must stay indoors on high-ozone days. Our air quality is on a tiny trend of improving in Arizona. I want to build a coalition to turn that sluggish improvement into a juggernaut of clean, fresh air all over our state.”  

They have had three meetings since their start in June, and they intend to meet semi-monthly or monthly.

They will develop their own website and social media outlets where you can learn more and contribute your ideas.

A long-term goal is to develop a bipartisan sustainability plan through open collaboration in the legislative process that can be applied statewide.

Representative Epstein commented that the focus of the group would first center on common-sense strategies. She will sponsor a bill with local Girl Scouts to prevent balloon litter and its adverse effects on wildlife. She explained:

“Bighorn sheep and elk are important to hikers and hunters, directly.   For all of us, to keep our air fresh and water clean, nothing works as well as healthy forests and rivers. Keeping wildlife healthy keeps us healthy. When a solution is as simple as, ‘Do not release big bunches of balloons outdoors,’ I think people will be glad to learn more about it.”

The group might also strive to work collaboratively on a variety of initiatives. They are evaluating and prioritizing potential projects that might include:

  • Improve the forest ecosystem, to prevent forest fires and promote clean air.
  • Plant trees in urban areas.
  • Safeguarding wildlife.
  • Support infrastructure of re-charging stations for electric vehicles
  • Keep forests, deserts, and water systems healthy and clean.

The group will also endeavor to forge alliances with businesses like Intel that have already set goals for energy conservation and sustainability.

Creating a workgroup that focuses on achieving the protection and preservation of the state’s ecosystem is a worthy endeavor and should be supported.

Hopefully, this group will grow to include more legislators from both parties and meaningful measures designed to protect the air, water, and terrain will be achieved.

For more information on this new Sustainability Workgroup, please contact Representative Epstein at if you are from the Phoenix area or Northern Arizona. If you are from the Tucson area and Southern Arizona, please contact Representative Engel at

Featured Image of Representatives Engel (left) and Epstein (right)



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David Gordon
Living in Arizona since his family moved to Tempe from New York in 1982, David Gordon has three degrees from Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix in History, Political Science, and Secondary School Administration. A highly qualified Social Studies instructor and Certified School Principal, Mr. Gordon owned his own charter school, Grand Canyon College Preparatory Academy from 1997-2016. The school served students in grades 6-12 in the East Valley of Maricopa County. Many of the graduates of GCP earned college credit for free while still attending high school, some completing the first year of college before graduating. Among the speakers at the school's graduations were noted figures in Arizona Politics like Harry Mitchell, David Schweikert, Juan Mendes, Andrew Sherwood, and John Huppenthal. Mr. Gordon also participated in the revisions of the Arizona History and Social Studies standards. In January 2017, Mr. Gordon started the political blog Twenty-First Century Progressive Bull Moose. It has a global following and routinely comments on the political events of the day. Mr. Gordon also helps administer the Facebook page Living Blue in Arizona. He is also currently writing a series of Young Adult science fiction novels which incorporate the themes of time travel and its impact on history. Mr. Gordon is very happy to be asked to join the Blog for Arizona team and hopes to spread the progressive word to make Arizona a better place for everyone.


  1. As an electric car owner, I confess that the only benefit of most public charging stations is the preferential status they confer and their closeness to the store entrance.

    Tesla superchargers excepted, most public chargers are useless and if they charge money, not economical. Non-superchargers deliver little extra miles of current and usually cost too much. Plus, using Tesla superchargers is not good for the battery. They are meant for long trips and not daily charging.

    Electric car owners charge their cars overnight at home and at cheap rates, in my case 7 cents a kw hour. I leave my home with a range of 215 miles and I have a smaller battery. I only use public chargers to get a spot close to the Whole Foods entrance. I do not need them and non-electric car owners should not have to subsidize my travels.

    Public monies should be spent on need to have amenities and not on nice for the affluent to have stuff.

    • So you’re against the government funding roads, the Interstate Highway System, bridges, ports, airports, and all the other things that the government does that allow business to conduct business?

      Because you don’t want to subsidize other people’s travels, right?

      Would you also be in favor of ending the billions and billions of subsidies for oil and gas companies? Because reading your comment, that’s exactly what you’re saying, and we may be on the same page.

      Please, start thinking things through.

      See you Whole Foods, hippie. 🙂

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