By Corinne Murdock |
On Tuesday, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs published her plan for reimagining Arizona energy if she’s elected governor this November. Some of the major changes desired by Hobbs included total elimination of fossil fuels, creating a new bureaucratic body to oversee water and “clean” energy, tree planting in all neighborhoods, and rebate clean energy programs for those 150 percent below the poverty line.
Overhauling the state’s energy and water infrastructure to combat climate change will cost the state and Arizonans more than it would to maintain the status quo. Hobbs’ plan comes as Arizona voters feel increasing pressure from inflation. At present, Arizonans pay an average of over $5.35 per gallon for gas, with Maricopa County residents feeling the gas hike more acutely at $5.65 a gallon. They’re also paying an average increase of over $700 a month on household goods. That latter figure amounts to an average of nearly $8,800 more a year, according to the latest congressional research.
As AZ Free News reported earlier this month, the cost of electric vehicles alone haven’t proved feasible for most Arizonans, let alone Americans — a reality becoming more apparent with inflation. In March, less than 15 percent of Americans were estimated to afford an electric vehicle.
Hobbs’ plan didn’t include an estimated total cost. However, Hobbs did give dollar amounts for certain initiatives, amounting up to $295 million if she serves one term, and up to $575 million if she serves two terms:
- up to $5 million a year to remove toxic chemicals from water
- a one-time allocation of $15 million to build wells for rural Arizonans, Latinos, and indigenous communities
- $15 million a year to restore forests and watersheds
- $25 million a year in grants for communities and private landowners affected by wildfires
- up to $25 million a year for preserving cultural and historical heritage spaces
Associated with some of these planned funding initiatives were disclosures that preference would be given to those aligning with certain social justice aims, such as combatting the urban heat island effect.
“Katie Hobbs’ Plan for a Resilient Arizona” proposed three overarching priorities: securing and modernizing the state’s water infrastructure, addressing wildfires and sustaining natural resources, and building a “clean energy economy.”
The Republican National Committee (RNC) research team issued a lengthy rebuttal of Hobbs’ plan. In a statement, spokesman Ben Petersen criticized the timing of a plan that would raise energy prices in the context of inflation increasing prices on everything, most noticeably gas and groceries.
“Democrat Katie Hobbs will struggle to explain her ‘Green New Deal’-esque scheme to voters paying record-high gas prices under Biden,” asserted Petersen. “Arizonans want more energy production and relief from the Biden Gas Hike, not Katie Hobbs’ far-left scheme to raise gas prices and energy bills.”
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero endorsed Hobbs’ plan. Last year, the city undertook a number of efforts to expand “clean” energy usage, which included requiring new homes to have electric vehicle charging ports.