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FERC rule to spark energy transmission building nationwide; Rudy Giuliani pleads not guilty to felony charges in AZ election interference case; new digital tool emerges to help MN students with FAFSA woes; WY governor to talk property tax shifts in a TeleTown Hall.

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Israel's Prime Minister calls the new ICC charges unfair. Trump's lawyers found more classified documents in Mar-a-Lago, months after an FBI's search. And a new report finds election deniers are advancing to the fall election.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

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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