Clean Energy Rules Fail, Arizona’s Path to Clean Air Unclear

Wednesday evening, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted against the Clean Energy Rules which included a carbon-free electricity standard by 2050. Despite Arizona’s air quality challenges, and various stakeholder support, the proposed Clean Energy Rules failed to pass in a 2-3 vote.

“The American Lung Association 2021 "State of the Air" report ranked Phoenix fifth most ozone polluted city in the U.S. and eighth most polluted city for annual particle pollution, and still the ACC failed to respond to our climate crisis” said Melissa Ramos, clean air advocacy manager for the American Lung Association. “Arizona saw an increase in unhealthy ozone days caused by weather-driven conditions such as extreme heat and drought, these disturbing trends coupled with the lack of action by the ACC leave Arizona’s clean air future very much in doubt.”

The proposed Energy Rules would have required utilities to get electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050, and prioritized renewable energy solutions such as wind and solar. After multiple amendments, most notably one by Commissioner Olson that weakened the rules to be voluntary goals for utilities, the rules failed disregarding the widespread public support from Arizona voters.

“Our Commissioners were elected to ensure Arizonans have safe, and reliable electricity,” said JoAnna Strother, senior advocacy director for the American Lung Association. “Failure to pass the Clean Energy Rules was a missed opportunity that threatens the air and health for generations of Arizonans.”

The American Lung Association released a poll in December 2020 which revealed 70% of voters support the Commission’s Clean Energy Rules to achieve carbon-free electricity by 2050. Nearly 80% of Arizonans support greater investments in energy efficiency, solar power utilization, and rebuilding the economy through clean energy investments.

“Rejecting these rules set Arizona back years of progress towards sustainable energy, and healthier air,” said Strother. “Arizonans need strong leadership at the ACC to protect our health, especially our most vulnerable populations – children, seniors, and communities of color - who face greater health risks from air pollution.”

For more information, contact:

Arizona Media Contact

[email protected]

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