Passage of Voluntary Emissions Bank HB 2152 Creates Incentives for Arizona’s Business Economy and Improved Air Quality

PHOENIX – Arizona Department of Environmental Quality officials today thank Governor Ducey for signing House Bill 2152, Emissions credits; voluntary emissions bank, into law, which provides both new and expanding Arizona businesses added opportunity in meeting mandatory federal Clean Air Act requirements to improve air quality, and may serve as a draw for new industries to locate to our state.

Prior to the passing of HB 2152, surplus emissions reductions deposits to Arizona’s emissions bank, which can be purchased by new or expanding businesses to meet Clean Air Act permitting requirements, were accepted only from permitted industrial facilities (traditional sources). Surplus emissions reductions are generated when a company reduces its air emissions below legal limits.

Representative Russell Bowers, R-25, sponsor of the bill, said, “With the demands of the EPA pressing upon our unique desert environment and its ambient production of ozone constituents, we have not been able to find permit space for new industry needs for air permits. While I have concerns about intruding into mobile sources, this voluntary approach could prove a great benefit to industry growth in Arizona.”

Enactment of this legislation expands the emissions bank to accept deposits from “non-traditional sources,” such as reductions generated through electrification of vehicle fleets. Allowing deposits from non-traditional sources will significantly increase the number of credits that could be deposited. For example, Maricopa County reports that 86 percent of contaminants that contribute to ozone generation come from non-traditional sources, mostly vehicles. This bill provides both an economic and environmental opportunity because it supports business growth in Arizona and incentivizes further air emissions reductions through a voluntary free-market sale process.

ADEQ Air Quality Division Director, Timothy S. Franquist, said, “The enactment of HB 2152 is consistent with Governor Ducey’s vision for agencies to be actively looking for ways to increase economic growth in Arizona. The enhanced voluntary Arizona emissions bank achieves both economic and environmental benefits by allowing new types of emissions offset credits to be used.” Franquist further explained that, “Arizona’s model is not a ‘cap and trade’ regulatory structure used elsewhere in the country.”

“These changes are a win-win for business and air quality,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman, Denny Barney, District 1, said. “The emissions bank allows the County to keep and attract desirable high-tech companies while working toward achieving air quality standards.”

ADEQ and Maricopa County officials worked cooperatively with stakeholders throughout the legislative session to develop and refine key provisions of the bill as follows:

  • Clarifies that the State does not receive any new authority to establish emissions limits for stationary or mobile sources, participation in the emissions bank is voluntary and credits do not expire
  • Prohibits banked credit sweeps by ADEQ or any other entity
  • Allows non-traditional credits to be banked

Monument review could help Arizona

Opinion By Larry D. Voyles, Director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department

President Trump’s Executive Order calling for a review of expansive executive land designations under the Antiquities Act of 1906 has predictably generated a volume of debate and dire predictions. Missing from the discussion is thoughtful dialogue about the critical role of multiple-use management in natural resources conservation and the sometimes dire consequences to our natural resources of removing such tools from the pallet of management actions and possibilities. This is all done in the name of “protection,” but sometimes we literally love our most special places to death.

In Arizona, when the 2011 Wallow Fire burned 538,000 acres of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, it initially reached crown fire intensity in the “protected” Bear Wallow Wilderness Area. “Protected” is in quotes because a wilderness designation, supposedly our highest level of protection, can actually prohibit many forest health management practices that reduce wildfire risk and protect our public lands. We all knew the overgrown Bear Wallow Wilderness would burn, and burn catastrophically.

The National Forests destroyed in the Wallow Fire, like those across the country, were established in the 20th century primarily to protect watersheds, timber, wildlife, and grazing lands, allowing these natural resources to benefit American communities. Catastrophic wildfires cause erosion that can shorten the lifespan of dams, robbing us of water, the lifeblood of our cities, towns, farms and industry.

This was the reason the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Department opposed the Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument proposal. The President’s Order doesn’t eliminate any monuments or restrictions on the use of monument lands and waters, but the review may help highlight the stark difference between symbolic designation and real conservation.

Protected areas are an important part of our conservation landscape, but multiple-use lands are essential to our conservation future. Let’s restore balance to our conservation dialogue. A national conversation about the connections between multiple-use management and healthy forests and waters is long overdue.

Versions of this article have been published as guest columns in the Arizona Capitol Times, Arizona Daily Star and Arizona Daily Sun.

Binational initiative wins economic development award

YUMA – A binational initiative to increase commerce and tourism in southwestern Arizona and the neighboring region in Mexico, stemming from a collaboration involving border communities and state entities including the Arizona Department of Transportation, has been honored for excellence in economic development.

The American Planning Association’s Economic Development Division selected the 4FrontED Initiative for its Donald E. Hunter Excellence in Economic Development Planning Award, saying the public-private partnership “is adding economic value to a multi-jurisdictional region where it may not have otherwise occurred.”

The 4FrontED region includes Yuma, Somerton, Wellton and San Luis in Arizona, as well as San Luis Río Colorado, Mexico. The Cocopah Indian Tribe is a recent member of the initiative.

In 2013, ADOT, the Arizona-Mexico Commission, the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Office of Tourism worked with the border communities of Douglas, Nogales and San Luis/Yuma County to create the Arizona Border Communities Roadmap identifying assets and strategies to generate economic development.

The 4FrontED Initiative stems from a binational work program, the Border Business Case, that is the first step of the Border Communities Roadmap. Through the 4FrontED Initiative, communities and businesses in southwestern Arizona and in Mexico formed alliances to increase international commerce and tourism and develop strategies to connect investors with opportunities.

“ADOT recognizes that border communities, because of their binational nature, have unique needs but also present a number of valuable opportunities for growth and development,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “The collaborative approach through the Border Communities Roadmap ensures that we maximize the efforts to promote the region and foster new investment and job creation.”

Yuma Mayor Douglas J. Nicholls, who initiated 4FrontED’s launch, said the initiative’s successes have only just begun as participants unite behind its shared vision.

“We are doing so, in unison, with short-term and long-term goals, to put the region on the global map,” Nicholls said.

The award will be presented Monday, May 8, at the American Planning Association National Planning Conference in New York City.

Drivers should plan extra travel time on SR 89A in Oak Creek Canyon this weekDrivers should plan extra travel time on SR 89A in Oak Creek Canyon next week

SEDONA – Motorists traveling on State Route 89A north of Sedona should allow extra time Monday, May 8, and Tuesday, May 9, while roadway striping is underway.

A rolling lane-striping operation is scheduled during daylight hours, weather permitting. Although no travel lanes on SR 89A will be closed, drivers should be patient and watch for slower-moving equipment between mileposts 375 and 386 in Oak Creek Canyon.

ADOT works to inform the public about planned highway restrictions and closures, but it’s possible that unscheduled impacts might occur because of weather or other factors. For the most current information about highway conditions statewide, visit ADOT’s Traveler Information site at, follow ADOT on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511, except while driving