Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs this week vetoed legislation she said would have a “deep chilling effect on renewable energy deployment” in the state.
In a letter to Speaker of the House, Ben Toma, Hobbs explained that HB 2618 not only “encourages an inconsistent statewide patchwork of regulations for renewable energy projects,” it also “creates additional regulatory confusion for businesses.”
HB 2618 would have amended state statutes regarding solar and wind generating power plants by imposing a series of complicated new regulations. Among them: exacting zoning standards, site-specific conditions and permitting requirements for cities, towns and counties to adopt; maintaining a form of “financial assurance,” most likely a bond, just in case the plant owner goes bankrupt or abandons the project; and requiring plant owners to submit a decommissioning and site restoration plan before a land use or permit application would be approved.
The end result of the bill, wrote the governor, would be “negatively impacting Arizona’s ability to attract, retain and grow a renewable energy ecosystem in our state and create good-paying jobs.”
The Sierra Club and the Interwest Energy Alliance, a group of renewable energy project developers and manufacturers, also opposed the bill, in agreement with the governor, who closed her letter with an invitation to the legislature to collaborate with her on “identifying consistent and predictable solutions” to the bill’s renewable energy issues.