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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

On 'Environmental Day,' AZ leaders show support for water bills

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Friday, January 26, 2024   

Arizona leaders, advocates and high school students gathered to commemorate Environmental Day at the Arizona State Capitol on Thursday.
Rep. Stephanie Stahl-Hamilton, D-Tucson, took a dig at her Republican colleagues, saying she knows the difference between weather and climate. She said despite the recent precipitation around the state and last winter's above-average rainfall, Arizona continues to get hotter and drier each year, adding to the severity of the state's drought.

"Combined with the fact that groundwater pumping remains completely unregulated in rural areas of the state," she said, "puts rural Arizonans in danger of, one day, not being able to sustain the way of life they've been accustomed to for generations."

This session, Stahl-Hamilton introduced House Bill 2359, which applies water-supply requirements to developments statewide, putting a stop to what she called "unfettered" building projects.

Gov. Katie Hobbs declared water a top issue during her State of the State address, but some GOP members and influential lobby organizations have pushed back, saying regulations would mean giving state government too much power.

Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club Grand Canyon chapter, said her organization is supporting House Bill 2356. It would allow the director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources to consider future impacts in declaring an "irrigation non-expansion area," to limit new irrigated lands.

Bahr also spoke in favor of HB 2357, which she said would prioritize keeping more water in Arizona rivers "and provide a mechanism for leaving more water in rivers to sustain ecological flows, and it actually allows people who have water rights to transfer those water rights to the river."

A recent survey found 68% of likely Arizona voters believe rural groundwater should be protected in a similar fashion to the active management areas where most people live, and where groundwater is already protected and managed.

Disclosure: Sierra Club contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Energy Policy, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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