Commentary

There’s nothing conservative about these GOP-backed anti-clean energy bills

March 4, 2021 9:31 am

Photo by Sirisak Boakaew | Getty Images

As a lifelong Republican and former Arizona public servant, I worked tirelessly on behalf of my constituents to uphold our Arizona Constitution and support legislation that would enable us to take advantage of our abundant natural resources. I have long been a proponent of solar and wind as a means of generating affordable renewable energy for our state because it’s common sense. 

At least it should be.

A diverse energy portfolio that includes renewable energy, and especially solar in our sunny state, helps to create homegrown jobs, powers our economy and secures our energy future. A recent poll by the American Lung Association found that Arizonans strongly support policies to boost renewable energy.

So, to bear witness to what is currently happening at the Arizona Legislature is extremely upsetting. Multiple bills have been introduced, clearly designed to upend the bipartisan energy rules package put forward by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) — rules that were debated publicly for two years and supported by the utilities themselves, as well as thousands of businesses and individuals.

Companies won’t want to invest here if there’s uncertainty and a tug-of-war game over energy policy. Our leadership should let the ACC do their job, or these bills are sure to steer economic development elsewhere.

It’s also worth noting that the ACC’s energy rules were adopted in part because many job-creating companies — including Google, Salesforce and Ball Corp. — are demanding clean energy from monopoly utilities. Many have signed a letter of support for the ACC’s energy rules

Surely, the lawmakers claiming to be fiscal conservatives don’t want their constituents to have higher electricity bills or big businesses to go elsewhere, but that’s exactly what’s likely to happen if this short-sighted legislation passes. Harming Arizona’s job climate and competitiveness is the last thing we need while we’re still reeling from COVID-19. These lawmakers should know better.

These are conservative ideals that I am proud to have supported for the betterment of our great state, and I care deeply about conservation for our future generations. It’s time to stop these bad bills before they cause harm to Arizonans and our economy.

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Lucy Mason
Lucy Mason

Lucy Mason served for eight years in the Arizona Legislature, six of them as chair of committees in the House of Representatives that oversaw energy policy.

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