By Will Greene
Blog for Arizona | www.blogforarizona.com
The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) is receiving an uncommon level of attention following the introduction of a plan by Commissioner Gary Pierce to decrease Arizona’s Renewable Energy Standard (REST), as well as the recent gutting of solar incentives by the agency.
The national organization CREDO Action set up a petition asking Commissioners to halt their “rollbacks of Arizona’s clean energy rules” which are “bad for the economy and bad for the environment.” The petition also asks the ACC to “work to reduce the state’s reliance on dirty coal, rather than attacking Arizona’s solar industry.”
The petition quickly gained over 5,000 signatures with hundreds accruing each day since its release.
“Arizona is one of the nation’s leaders in solar energy, but that won’t be true for long if the Corporation Commission has its way and rolls back Arizona’s clean energy programs,” said Josh Nelson, CREDO’s Campaign Manager. “That’s why thousands of activists throughout the state are calling on Commissioner Gary Pierce and the Corporation Commission to reverse course and stop attacking Arizona’s thriving solar power industry.”
A similar petition organized by Renewable Communities Alliance asks Commissioners to keep Arizona’s solar growth going strong, and has nearly 2,000 signatures.
This level of outcry might not surprise our five Corporation Commissioners, considering every major study conducted regarding Arizona’s citizen sentiment towards energy sources shows broad support for renewables with negative attitudes associated with polluting technologies that are mostly imported, such as coal (see here, here, and here).
A recent rally at the ACC in opposition to the agency’s assault on solar received substantial airtime on Arizona Horizon and a story in the Arizona Capitol Times.
Should Pierce’s plan to slash the REST move to a vote (a procedural conference is scheduled for Feb. 14th with a hearing and potential vote to follow), commissioners can expect even more heat, with attention likely particularly focused on the three commissioners who pledged during the 2012 campaign that they would oppose a REST decrease, Susan Bitter-Smith, Bob Burns, and Bob Stump.