Arizona Representative Gail Griffin (R19) issued a warning to fellow legislators about a matched pair of state bills (HB2731 and SB1306) that would transfer control of rural groundwater management to a “small group of unelected bureaucrats” backed by out-of-state environmental groups, including NY-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Lincoln Institute of Land Policy (MA), the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (OR), and the National Audubon Society (NY).
The 41-page legislation calls for the creation of “tools” for local entities to manage groundwater resources, which would forever override private property rights in favor of environmentalist group control over who gets the water. Key elements of the EDF bills include the creation of Local Groundwater Stewardship Areas (LGSAs), which Governor Hobbs currently uses in other jurisdictions to appoint unelected controllers who wield extensive legal and financial control. One of the legislation’s most controversial components allows grants of up to $50M to entities the LGSA deems worthy of the funds, including any political group, tribe, or non-profit organization in or out of the state. The recipient need not live or operate in Arizona, creating the potential for political favoritism by LGSA members.
Rep. Griffin’s eleven-page warning provides extensive line-item explanations of how the bills will negatively impact private water rights and outlines a call to action for concerned legislators.
The Arizona Globe reached out to Ms. Griffin for comment.
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