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Let’s harness the power of free-markets to find conservation, environmental solutions

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I am the elected State Senator for Legislative District 1, and a Prescott resident since the age of four. People often mistake Arizona as a sandy desert, however, those of us who reside here know the beauty in its vast valleys, forests, and endless mountain ranges. There is a growing narrative that conservatives do not care about protecting our environment, which is why I, along with other conservative leaders, support the Arizona chapter of The Western Way

Senate President Karen Fann (Photo by Katie Campbell/Arizona Capitol Times)

Senate President Karen Fann (Photo by Katie Campbell/Arizona Capitol Times)

(TWW) organization. While TWW is a multi-state organization, focused on economical environmental solutions to conservation issues, the organization recognizes each state’s individual environmental problems and allows the respective chapters to address their unique challenges with long-term solutions.

Arizona’s conservation and environmental challenges must be a priority for not only individuals, diverse communities, and state government, but also for businesses across the state, as it has a direct impact on our daily lives. Recent polling by The Western Way shows that an overwhelming number of consumers want a larger emphasis on renewable resources and energy efficiency measures. Conservative Arizona voters responded with 80 percent favoring of placing prominence on producing energy from solar power and 84 percent of increase energy efficiency measures. Therefore, the Arizona chapter of TWW, supports companies whom are responding to consumer demand, one of which is Salt River Project (SRP).

SRP, without a government mandate, is forging a new path for Arizona through a comprehensive set of sustainability goals addressing business activities in five priority areas: carbon emission reductions, water resiliency, supply chain and waste reduction, grid modernization, and civic engagement. It is my belief that honest, principled leadership will allow us to provide pragmatic solutions to our environmental issues, and SRP follows this belief through their implementation of a 2035 governance structure that includes an incorporated financial plan, steps to ensure public transparency, and a data governance structure. The company’s 2035 sustainability goals of adding significant amounts of utility scale solar, pursuing battery storage, partnering with large private sector energy users, and prioritizing energy and water savings through energy efficiency measures has pushed SRP to add 1,000 megawatts of new utility-scale solar energy by 2025, execute its first standalone battery-based energy storage project with The AES Corporation, and partner with Intel to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the Intel Chandler facility.

Having continued collaboration from mission-driven organizations and companies like The Western Way and SRP create win-win economic and ecological solutions for our state. Within TWW, we focus on the real time data and facts, something I strongly believe in as we cannot be effective in fostering real solutions without acknowledging established scientific evidence and the current state of our resources. It is understood that mandates and big-government solutions originating in Washington, D.C. may not work for our western state, and therefore, we challenge ourselves, and those around us, to harness the power of free-markets to find long-term solutions. As the newly elected Arizona Senate President, it is my duty to work across party-lines and make responsible legislative decisions addressing our great state’s environmental needs.

Senate President Karen Fann represents Legislative District 1 and has served in the Legislature since 2011.

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