Arizona Republicans Push Competing Clean Energy Initiative

Published: Tuesday, March 27, 2018 - 5:38pm

Arizona voters could see two ballot questions on the future of renewable energy this November election.

On Tuesday, the Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee approved a measure that resembles another clean energy initiative linked to progressive billionaire Tom Steyer. Both would require that half of the state's energy come from renewable sources like solar and wind by 2030.

But House Concurrent Resolution 2017 would let state utility regulators ditch any voter approved clean energy mandate if it could raise prices or adversely affect “the well-being of the state.”

Democrats call that language a poison pill.

Senator Steve Farley said the measure is designed to confuse voters — they even have similar titles.

“It’s got almost exactly the same language and the same number of pages with a few key changes that would gut the entire intent of it. I’m certainly hoping the voters will take the time to read the initiative carefully,” Farley said during the committee hearing.

But supporters of the competing initiative say voters should have a second option.

“The voters are intelligent enough to say they can have a locked-in-stone 50 percent goal even if there’s economic devastation it would be difficult to remove ourselves from," Republican Senator John Kavanagh said, "or they can have the goal of 50 with a safety valve.”

The measure passed the committee on a party line vote.

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