Possibly the most important race in Arizona

05 Nov 2012 11:11 am
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.

Corp comm flyer

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.

Pretty Solar


  1. Comment by Suzanne on November 5, 2012 12:38 pm

    Donna, I could not agree with you more.

    Steve Moratore did an excellent blog (@ http://stevemuratore.blogspot.com/ ) on this subject as well. He appropriately identified the Republican candidates in this way; “Trash Burner Bob, utility lobbyist Susan Bitter Smith and ALEC legacy member Bob Burns”.

  2. Comment by mike slater on November 5, 2012 1:11 pm

    I’m going to the polls in the morning and voting for Stump, Burns and Bitter-Smith.

  3. Comment by BB on November 5, 2012 3:12 pm

    OH BURRRNNN Mike Slater! Everyone certainly cares about petulant responses from sour grapes Republicans.

  4. Comment by TommyBoy on November 5, 2012 6:28 pm

    oh brother. same old same old. It’s waste to energy, and it’s not polluting. its used throughout Europe and the United States. the big fat solar team deceptions continue. they have nothing else to run on. sad.

  5. Comment by LibInAZ on November 6, 2012 10:40 am

    Oh, brother, is right, TommyBoy! Regardless of what you believe about global climate change, do you really like breathing in smoke-filled air? Seriously! What is so wrong with solar? It has never harmed a single lung. Try having asthma in this city. Let me tell you…it’s not fun!!! It’s like sitting in a restaurant where people smoke. Which, btw, has been banned, thankfully, in most cities across the country.

    On a side note….the deception of the Stump, Bitter-Smith, and Burns ticket is criminal! I received a response from Susan Bitter-Smith that claimed she was all for solar and alternative energy, however when I read her statement in the voters pamphlet, it was 180* the opposite – declaring that she and her “team” are against the “dangerous energy policies” instituted by President Obama. How in the world is renewable energy dangerous? The only reason she/they would say that is if they are in bed with the oil companies. Now, THAT is dangerous!! And, all the more reason why it’s time for the polluters to loosen their monopoly grip on energy…

  6. Comment by ModerateVoter on November 6, 2012 2:20 pm

    Lib, you should do your own research. No smoke emits from waste to energy plants. President Obama’s EPA calls this technology renewable energy. No voter should listen to the talking points of either side without investigating for herself. The solar team knows that the public would be scared to hear about a “polluting trash facility,” so they went with it. It’s false. Call the utilities department at the Commission. They deemed it renewable, too. Bet you didn’t know that.

  7. Comment by Arizona Eagletarian on November 6, 2012 6:55 pm

    For the record, TommyBoy, Trash Burner Bob admitted publicly that TOXIC non-biogenic municipal solid waste would be burned in the facility he voted to authorize.

    Do you REALLY want to breathe the smoke from burning plastic?


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