Archive for the ‘Arizona’ Category

Without federal help, local governments are trying to save coal

March 12th, 2019
Coal truck at a mine.

Enlarge / A truck loaded with coal is viewed at the Eagle Butte Coal Mine, which is operated by Alpha Coal, on Monday May 08, 2017 in Gillette, Wyoming. (credit: Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

As the Trump administration's attempts to save coal have stalled, a record number of coal plants were shut down or scheduled for shut down in 2018.

The federal government has floated extra compensation for coal and nuclear plants, it has tried to use federal wartime powers to mandate that coal plants stay open, and it has rolled back the Clean Power Plan in the hopes that fewer regulations would help coal power plants stay solvent. Still, though, coal plants close and threaten to close largely because coal is more expensive than natural gas and renewable energy, and it's more cost-effective for utilities and energy companies to retire old plants than to refurbish them.

The federal government is still working to boost coal. In yesterday's budget proposal, the Trump administration proposed extensive cuts to a variety of renewable and efficiency programs run by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, but it said it wanted to increase the Bureau of Land Management's coal management program funding by $7.89 million. In addition, the Office of Fossil Energy Research and Development saw a proposed increase in funds by $60 million.

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Posted in Arizona, coal, electricity, Energy, Policy, science, Wyoming | Comments (0)

Citing parental freedom, Arizona lawmakers move ahead with anti-vaccine bills

February 25th, 2019
 A single dose of MMR (for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) at Kaiser Permanente East Medical offices in Denver.

Enlarge / A single dose of MMR (for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella) at Kaiser Permanente East Medical offices in Denver. (credit: Getty | Joe Amon)

Lawmakers in Arizona are moving forward with three bills that will make it easier for parents to opt out of getting life-saving vaccinations for their children—and may even encourage them to do so, according to a report in The Arizona Republic.

The brazen legislative move comes as the country grapples with six outbreaks of measles, an extremely contagious, vaccine-preventable disease that can be disabling and even fatal to young children. One of those outbreaks is occurring in Washington state's Clark County, where rampant anti-vaccine views and similarly lax vaccination laws fueled the spread of disease. Since the start of the year, officials have tallied 65 cases, mostly in children under the age of 10 (47 of the 65 cases) and nearly all unvaccinated (57 cases of the 65 cases, with six others cases unverified, and two cases with only one out of the recommended two vaccine doses).

Hoping to prevent future outbreaks, Washington state lawmakers are now advancing legislation that would eliminate vaccination exemptions on personal and philosophical grounds. But Arizona lawmakers seem to have taken no heed of the efforts of their Washington counterparts, even as public health experts condemned Arizona's proposed legislation.

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Posted in Arizona, fda, Infectious disease, measles anti-vaccine, science, vaccine, vaccine exemptions | Comments (0)

Arizona utility reveals battery deals that give California a run for its money

February 24th, 2019
Transmission lines.

Enlarge / A switch yard that receives electricity from photovoltaic solar panels in Yuma County, Arizona. (credit: Joshua Lott/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Last week, Arizona Public Service (APS) announced that it would procure 850 megawatts (MW) of battery storage by 2025. APS, which is the largest utility in the southwestern state, also said it would add at least 100 MW of solar power to its grid by 2025.

According to Utility Dive, 450 MW of that battery storage will be deployed by 2021, with a total of 1200 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy. The additional 400 MW will be built before 2025, but the duration of those batteries is not yet confirmed. APS's statement notes that the new battery capacity will be built at existing solar plants.

The announcement is one of the largest made by a utility for battery storage. In July of last year, California's PG&E signed similarly large deals with Tesla, Vistra/Dynegy, and Hummingbird Energy Storage. Invenergy and AES will work with APS to provide the batteries in Arizona.

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Posted in Arizona, battery, California, electricity, Energy, Policy, science | Comments (0)

Pay for Trump’s border wall with $20 online porn fee, Ariz. lawmaker says

January 22nd, 2019
A computer mouse with a cable forming the letters,

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Atomic Imagery)

An Arizona state lawmaker has proposed a $20 fee on people who want to view online pornography in order to raise money for building a border wall between Arizona and Mexico.

Arizona House Bill 2444, proposed last week by State Rep. Gail Griffin (R-Hereford), would require makers and distributors of Internet-connected devices to ship such devices with blocking software "that renders a website that displays obscene material inaccessible by default." Under the bill, any Internet user who wants to deactivate the blocking software would have to pay "a onetime deactivation fee of at least $20 to the Arizona Commerce Authority."

The money would be used to establish what the bill calls the "John McCain Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Prevention Fund." That fund would "provide grants to government agencies and private entities that work to uphold community standards of decency for the purpose of strengthening families and developing, expanding or strengthening programs for victims of sex offenses."

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Posted in Arizona, Biz & IT, Policy, porn tax | Comments (0)