Lawsuit Filed To Block Arizona Renewable Energy Initiative

By Will Stone
Published: Thursday, July 19, 2018 - 5:23pm
Updated: Friday, July 20, 2018 - 10:16am

A ballot measure that would require half of Arizona’s energy to come from renewable sources like solar and wind could be in jeopardy.

On Thursday, Arizonans for Affordable Electricity — a group funded by the parent company of Arizona Public Service — filed a lawsuit to block the initiative, Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, from appearing on the November ballot.

The suit claims only about 22 percent of the signatures turned into the Arizona Secretary of State are valid.

“These signature petitions are rife with fraud and abuse and just a general disregard for state law,” said Matt Benson, a spokesperson for Arizonans for Affordable Electricity.

Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona collected nearly half a million signatures — more than twice the number required to make the ballot. But Benson said his group hired experts to comb through all the signatures and only about 106,000 of those should count in the official tally.

The lawsuit claims nearly 200,000 of the signatures belong to people who are not registered to vote in Arizona, while others lack key information like first and last names.

But Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona spokesperson DJ Quinlan calls these allegations “delusional.”

“It’s another failed attempt by APS to stop voters from having a choice,” Quinlan said. “You can imagine it’s not really in their interest to find these people. I don’t think we will find anything near that when the professionals look at it.”

Clean Energy for a Health Arizona is primarily funded by California billionaire Tom Steyer.

Both sides have already spent millions on the ballot fight, according to recent campaign filings.

Politics Sustainability