Posted by: Donna
And the vast majority of Arizonans have no idea who these people are or what they do. I am speaking, of course, about the Arizona Corporation Commission. This is a 5 member elected branch of the state government that has independent power to shape our energy policy. In 2006, under the leadership of a pro-renewable energy Republican, Kris Mayes, the Commission passed a renewable energy standard (RES) mandating that Arizona get a minimum of 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025. It’s worth noting that Mayes was joined in this modest, yet important, advancement in energy policy by Republican Commissioners Mark Spitzer and Bill Mundell. In 2008 two Democrats running on a “Solar Team” ticket, Sandra Kennedy and Paul Newman, were elected to the Commission. That was a boost for renewables but, unfortunately, Republican Bob Stump edged out Sam George, the third candidate on the Dem Solar team slate that year, keeping the Corp Comm in the hands of a Republican majority. Stump is a former ALEC member who is hostile to solar energy investment. 2010’s Tea Party wingnut wave election ushered in ALEC members Brenda Burns and Gary Pierce. So we’re up to three former ALEC members on the existing Corp Comm.
Stump is running for reelection. He is joined on the GOP slate by Susan Bitter-Smith and former legislator Bob Burns. Burns is a former state legislator who was (shockingly!) an ALEC member. Bitter-Smith, who was a Scottsdale City Council member, is a lobbyist and gadfly who commentates regularly in the newspapers and on TV. She didn’t serve in the Legislature so she didn’t join ALEC but she’s as in the pocket of the fossil fuels industry as the others. If this cavalcade of sell-outs is elected we will have four, count ’em, four ALEC members on the AZ Corp Comm. All three of the Republican candidates are climate change deniers.
Corporate lobbyist supporters of the GOP trio sent out a flyer recently featuring solar panels prominently.
This pretending to support solar is a bit of Romney-esque shape-shifting for the general election. The reality is that the Republicans want to weaken the RES. Commissioner Bob “Trash Burner Bob” Stump successfully pushed a permit for an expensive and polluting 13 megawatt trash burning plant in West Phoenix to count under the RES for Mohave County (which is not anywhere near Phoenix). Phoenix has some of the worst air quality in the nation already and it is simply insane to pursue trash burning as a renewable energy source in Arizona when there’s so much opportunity for solar here.
If you want to see more solar development in Arizona, and I know most of y’all do, reelect the Solar Team’s Sandra Kennedy and Paul Newman and elect new Solar Team member Marcia Busching along with them. A Dem majority on Corp Comm will protect and strengthen the RES and ensure that it is put toward truly renewable energy sources that are good for our state.
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