Arizona state legislative update (Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club)

The Arizona State Senate passed a budget early on the morning of June 26 and the House passed the same budget that night.  It is on its way to the Governor.  Considering they are making up a nearly $2 billion shortfall, it could have been a lot worse — although most environmental programs are already underfunded.  The Legislature cannot get the votes to really increase revenues substantially, so cuts, fund transfers, bonding, and rollovers are the focus. 

The Arizona State Parks system is hit hard again with over $7.4 million in fund transfers; at the Department of Water Resources, the Arizona Water Protection Fund dollars were rolled back again; and the Department of Environmental Quality had $8.6 million in fund transfers.

The Governor and Legislature did not hit the Heritage Fund, however.  These dollars are critical to parks and wildlife and are inadequate as is.  Please thank the Governor and legislators for keeping the Heritage Fund intact.

  • You can reach the Governor at  Or, call 602-542-4331 or outside the Phoenix area 1-800-253-0883.  You can also write to: The Honorable Janet Napolitano, Governor of Arizona, 1700 W. Washington, 9th Floor, Phoenix, AZ 85007 or by fax at 602-542-1381.
  • To contact your state legislators, go to  If you are not sure who your legislators are, go to (you will need your 9-digit zip code) or call the House or Senate information desks.  If you’re outside the Phoenix area, call your legislators’ offices at 1-800-352-8404; in the Phoenix area call 602-926-3559 (Senate) or 602-926-4221 (House).  Correspondence goes to 1700 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007-2890.

Repairing damage from off-highway vehicles no easy task

Nora Avery-Page, Cronkite News Service[Source: Nora Avery-Page, Cronkite News Service] — Surrounded by illegal off-highway vehicle trails, this one patch, with a replanted cactus taking root, marks an effort repair at least some of the desert near Mesa.  Boy Scouts planted the cactus and several others dotting this landscape, and groups representing riders, hikers and others often volunteer to help repair damage off-highway vehicles cause here.  “There’s a lot that can be done, but it takes a lot, lots of funding and manpower,” said Tammy Pike, OHV and trails coordinator for the Tonto National Forest.  “We try to reach out and have as many people help us as we can.”

Tonto sees more than 900,000 visits each year from off-highway vehicle riders, and land managed by the state and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management also is attracting more and more riders as Arizona’s population grows.  The Arizona Game and Fish Department estimates that off-highway vehicle use has more than tripled since 1998.  A bill being considered by the Arizona State Legislature would create a registration fee for off-highway vehicles that would help fund, among other things, projects to repair damaged landscapes.  Damaged areas can be restored if there is sufficient money and effort, officials say, but the scale of the damage makes it makes it virtually impossible to repair everything.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]