Republican lawmakers in Arizona are pushing back against a California billionaire Tom Steyer-backed proposal that would force the state to get half its electricity from green energy.
State lawmakers approved in a Senate committee Wednesday a bill signaling strong opposition to a possible November ballot initiative mandating 50 percent of Arizona’s electricity come from green energy by 2030. The bill would make violating the mandate a civil penalty.
The bill, according to a memo released by the Arizona state Senate research staff, establishes that “the exclusive remedy or penalty assessed to a public service corporation, will be a civil penalty.” Additionally, the bill will set a maximum one-time fine on energy companies who might be out of compliance at $5,000.
Republicans in the state argue the bill sends a clear message to people like Steyer, a billionaire anti-oil environmentalist from California who is also campaigning to impeach President Donald Trump.
State Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, a Republican, said that she rejects the notion of “California billionaires buying their way into #Arizona and dictating policies that will raise utility rates on families in my district.”
Republican state Rep.Vince Leach, who supports the bill, was the first member of the legislature to testify before the committee. “It sends a strong and an unmistakable message to those out-of-state people that want to come in … We just tell them: ‘Arizona’s constitution is not for sale,'” he said.
Steyer’s group, Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona (CEHA), must submit more than 226,000 signatures before July 5 to get the green energy proposal on the November ballot. Similar proposals have been offered in other states.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, committed the state to using huge amounts of wind power by 2030 in a “State of the State” speech in January of 2017. He wants the Empire State to get 50 percent of its electricity from green energy sources to “phase out” conventional fossil fuels.
New York currently gets less than five percent of its electricity from wind and solar, according to the Energy Information Administration. Cuomo has already shut down several other attempts to develop low-carbon energy in New York state.
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