Posts Tagged ‘arizona’

Fire season started early in California this year because the winter rains that usually tide this area over until July or August, barely materialized. Last year, the focus was on wildfires in Colorado and New Mexico. In 2011, Texas was a hotbed of drought and wildfire.  Now, all signs point to a destructive 2013 season, given how parched the earth is in the southwest and west, and we are starting to see that materialize.

Typically, this would be the height of the wildfire season in the southwest – New Mexico, Arizona, parts of Colorado, but despite how dry it is and how hot it’s been, a lot of the region had been spared until the big fire started in Colorado this week near Colorado Springs.

According to several scientists on a Climate Nexus panel on Tuesday (Climate Nexus is a strategic communications group dedicated to highlighting the wide-ranging impacts of climate change and clean energy solutions in the United States), major wildfires could occur across the Southwest this year, including in Texas.  Now that Texas is in its third year of drought, the state is likely to experience a longer fire season as a result of dry conditions and rising summer temperatures. High fire risk conditions raise the concern that Texas could again experience severe wildfires. Fires on Labor Day weekend in  2011 destroyed more than 1,600 Texas homes

A draft report by the federal National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Council (NCADAC) shows that in recent decades, the frequency of large wildfires and the length of the fire season have increased substantially.  Earlier spring snowmelts and warmer spring and summer temperatures have increased the risk of fire in the Southwest. Fire models predict that more wildfires will occur in the future, with increased risks to communities throughout the region.

US wildfires May to June 2013

US wildfires May to June 2013

To see this interactive map click here

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Joe Shirley Jr., President of the Navajo Nation

Joe Shirley Jr., President of the Navajo Nation

I’m not (by any stretch of the imagination) an expert on Native American affairs, but there is an interesting and rather sad drama playing out in the Navajo Nation (a semi-autonomous Native American homeland covering parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico). The Nation also encompasses the Hopi Reservation, represented by the Hopi Tribal Council. Here is a USA Today article of September 30, 2009, in part:

PHOENIX — The president of the Navajo Nation joined other Native American leaders this week in assailing environmentalists who have sought to block or shut down coal-fired power plants that provide vital jobs and revenue to tribes in northern Arizona. (more…)

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OMG, how excited are Texas Republicans to file their own Arizona-style immigration reform? You’d think this was the line for Justin Bieber tickets . . . NOT. . . Saturday afternoon, State Rep. Debbie Riddle pitched a make-shift campsite outside the floor of the Texas House of Representatives to make sure she was the first in line when the chief clerk’s office opened for early filing Tueday morning, spending Saturday and Sunday night sleeping on the lobby floor.

Instead of the much coveted Justin Bieber ticket, all Representative Riddle got was HB 17, (lower bill numbers are reserved for such mundane items like the budget) which is similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 and would allow police to check the immigration status of anyone they pull over for a traffic stop.  Another early filing bill requires parents of public school children to provide proof of citizenship and/or immigration status, which would then be relayed to the state, as part of an effort to “identify and analyze any impact on the standard or quality of education” from illegal immigration. Yet another bill seeks to crack down on “sanctuary cities.”

Riddle, who made a name for herself as the spokesperson for the “terror baby” menace, also introduced two other bills (one that would increase the penalty for driving without a license, and one requiring valid ID in order to vote) whose intent seems to be to take on immmigration indirectly.

After a landslide election (the GOP gained 44 seats in the Texas house) and with the base so fired up that its leaders are literally squatting on the floors of the legislature, we can expect this to be an interesting session.

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Phoenix, AZ – Today, the Arizona Corporation Commission acted to save consumers and businesses money by unanimously approving a final Energy Efficiency Standard Rule.

“There was strong support from all five commissioners to significantly increase Arizona’s commitment to energy efficiency via this landmark new standard,” said Jeff Schlegel with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “Arizona’s utility customers benefit from this standard as they will have better access to energy efficiency measures that will reduce energy consumption and lower their utility bills.  Consumers and businesses will save billions of dollars in lower energy costs.”

The Energy Efficiency Standard established in the Rule will achieve 22 percent energy savings in 2020 as a percent of retail sales from energy efficiency, with a credit of up to 2 percent for demand response.  This will put in place one of the strongest energy efficiency standards in the country.

“The energy efficiency rule is a big step forward in decreasing energy use and reliance on polluting sources of energy,” said Sandy Bahr, Chapter Director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club. “This will mean less air pollution, decreased water use, fewer emissions that contribute to climate change, and a more sustainable future for all Arizonans.”

Reduced power generation associated with energy efficiency measures will result in a decrease of a number of pollutants including carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas), nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, mercury and other pollutants.  This will reduce the public health impacts related to emissions of particulate matter and mercury, and also reduce our contribution to global climate change.
The energy efficiency measures that are contemplated by the rule must be cost effective and will result in saving ratepayers money by lowering their overall bills for electricity.

“Energy efficiency is one of the most cost-effective resources around and is much less costly than constructing and operating new power plants,” said David Berry with Western Resource Advocates.

“The Commission deserves credit for doing their part to help a struggling economy.  A strong energy efficiency standard is a win-win-win policy: ratepayers save money on their monthly electric bills; children, seniors and those with weak immune systems enjoy better health; and Arizonans continue to receive improved air quality,” stated Diane E. Brown, Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.

Well, somebody’s got their heads on straight. Arizona gets it– why not Texas?  A little disheartening when you have the PUC deciding efficiency rules tomorrow and groups like the Texas Public Policy Foundation poo-pooing energy efficiency (they think we should build nukes!  Amazing!  Nuclear energy is like conservative “think” tank kryptonite– they HATE government subsidies and bailouts until it comes to nukes. Then they just can’t get enough of them.)

So, final word: Efficiency = lower bills, less pollution.  Building more non-renewables power plants = high bills, more pollution.  In this case, is this Arizona = good, Texas = needs to catch up to Arizona?


By promoting cleaner energy, cleaner government, and cleaner air for all Texans, we hope to provide for a healthy place to live and prosper. We are Public Citizen Texas.

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Excellent news from San Antonio!

One:  According to a new poll by the Willie Velasquez Institute, the majority of Texans are in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA), the big cap and trade bill currently being debated in Congress.

Two: Latino leaders and organizations in San Antonio have formed a coalition called Tejanos for a Better Future to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation from a Latino perspective.

Hope Texas leadership **cough, cough Charlie Gonzalez and Gene Green** is listening because it looks as if ACESA will be voted out of committee tonight, and these Congressmen’s’ opportunity to hold heavy sway over this legislation is fast reaching an end.

WCVI Calls for Congressmen Green and Gonzalez to Vote for Landmark Climate Change Bill

San Antonio, TX – The William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) recently completed a flash poll of registered voters in Texas Congressional Districts 20 and 29 and the preliminary findings imply strong support for the landmark Climate Change bill, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACESA).

WCVI, which held Latino Leadership meetings in San Antonio and Los Angeles on April 25th and in Houston on May 21st to discuss this bill, is urging community members to contact Representative Charlie Gonzalez’s and Gene Green’s Offices to support the bill. As members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, they hold important swing votes, which could be scheduled as soon as today.

Further, WCVI, along with other Latino leaders, have formed Tejanos for a Better Future, a coalition of leaders and organizations in San Antonio. Its goal is to promote climate change mitigation and adaptation from a Latino/Hispanic perspective.

The climate crisis will disproportionately impact Latinos. ACESA, now being discussed in Congress will create new economic opportunities for our community through green jobs and a new green economy.” said Antonio Gonzalez, WCVI President.

Preliminary survey data shows 58% of voters support the ACESA. An overwhelming 87% of voters want to see Texas increase its production and use of renewable energy and 95% want to see the state become more energy efficient. And finally, 55% of voters believe green house gases can be reduced while creating economic opportunities and jobs at the same time.

Added Gonzalez, “The work of Tejanos for a Better Future is very timely with the climate change legislation moving through the US House of Representatives this week. This bill is vital to our planet and to Latinos, and we have high expectations that Congressmen Gonzalez and Green will support a strong bill that protects the environment and our community.”

WCVI plans to hold additional Climate Change briefings in Arizona, California and Texas. For more information, call 210-922-3118 or visit www.wcvi.org.

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