On Tuesday, the Arizona House Natural Resources, Energy & Water Committee is scheduled to consider HB2248, which seeks to ensure that policy decisions are made by officials the people of Arizona elected to make them.
“The Arizona Corporation Commission is established in the Constitution of Arizona to regulate public service corporations, which includes non-municipal corporations that furnish gas, oil or electricity for light, fuel or power,” as per the legislative record. “Specifically, the Commission has the full power to prescribe rules, regulations and orders that govern a public service corporation’s rates, charges and classifications, which is collectively referred to as its “ratemaking authority.”
The Commission is not authorized to set energy policy.
As previously reported by AZFN, HB2248 sponsored by Rep. Gail Griffin (R-LD14) is in response to various Green New Deal mandates implemented by the ACC in recent years for how public service corporations can do business. It makes clear that legislators -not the ACC’s five members- have authority for establishing policies related to critical electric generation resources, whether biomass, coal, fuel-cell technology, geothermal, hydroelectric, natural gas, nuclear, solar, wind, or petroleum fuel products.
HB2248 would prohibit the ACC from adopting or enforcing any “policy, decision or rule” which directly or indirectly regulates what types of critical electric generation resources to be used or acquired by a public service corporation within Arizona’s energy grid “without express legislative authorization.”
Sen. Sine Kerr (R-LD13) has introduced SB1175, a companion bill to HB2248. The bills would amend Title 40 of the Arizona Revised Statute by adding a new section designated as ARS §40-213. The amendment would not apply to any ACC policy, decision, or rule adopted before June 30, 2020 but would be retroactive to that date if passed.
The Free Enterprise Club, a pro-business group, reports that “several interest groups and Green New Deal activists have signed in against the bill, and they have coalesced around one argument: legislators aren’t smart enough to handle energy policy. This is a topic that should be left up to the “experts” over at the ACC.”
“As HB 2248 and SB 1175 move forward, it will be interesting to see how lawmakers respond to being told that they are stupid and should stand in the corner while the Corp Comm attempts to set energy policy for the state,” the Free Enterprise Club asserts in a blog post. “Hopefully, it will stiffen their resolve to do the right thing: stopping the Green New Deal in Arizona.”
In 2018, Arizona voters overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 127, a ballot measure that would have forced electric companies to get half of their energy from renewable sources by 2030.
Prop 127 was pushed by California billionaire activist Tom Steyer’s political group NextGen America.
Despite the massive spending by the group, Arizonans rejected what was described as the “costly, politically driven mandates,” outlined in Prop 127.
In fact, Arizona voters’ rejection of the mandates in Prop 127 caused Democrats in close races like Mark Kelly to denounce both the Green New Deal and a ban against fracking.