There is no more significant threat to the future of Arizona’s families and our economy than the availability of water and a changing climate.
That is as true for our rural communities as it is for the urban metroplex of Phoenix. Furthermore, expansive rows of crops and new subdivisions will drive strong demand for water. As a result, it places a more significant strain on our aquifers, watersheds, and upstream water storage systems.
As a local school board member, I recognize that we must act before it is too late.
At the state and federal levels of policymaking, we desperately need updates to our policies and best practices. Specifically, those that are no longer sustainable to address the way we deal with climate and water.
Don’t just take it from me; look at the first-ever mandatory restrictions on drawing water from the Colorado River Basin. The dwindling levels in Lake Mead have already dipped down to historic lows. In addition, climate change has worsened the availability of water in our reservoirs, and Arizonans are drawing more water from our aquifers than can be replenished.
Responsible leaders at all levels of government must act accordingly. So I’m proud that U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego is helping lead the fights in Congress as a House Natural Resources Committee member. It’s easy to demand domestic fossil fuel production during skyrocketing gas prices caused by corporate greed, global markets, and an international crisis. Rep. Gallego takes a more measured approach and looks to generations beyond our own to find the right policy solutions.
During his time in Congress, Rep. Gallego has been a leader in environmental and energy policy. He is championing such causes as the designation and restoration of the Bears Ears National Monument and protecting the Tongass National Forest. His advocacy will protect our air, land, and water from harmful development. In addition, he has supported critical actions designed to mitigate the impact of climate change.
During the growing gas crisis, rather than call for increased domestic production, Rep. Gallego has called on the use of American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds to help provide consumers with relief at the pump. His idea would protect both our pocketbooks and the environment.
This commonsense legislation looks beyond the current generation. Rep. Gallego has also supported necessary pro-environment provisions in major congressional packages and budgets. That focus on Building climate-resilient wastewater infrastructure, restoring methane pollution safeguards, increasing funding for renewable energy infrastructure, the Great American Outdoors Act, and protecting the Grand Canyon from uranium mining, among many other essential climate votes meant to benefit the next generation of Arizonans.
This forward-thinking leadership is necessary for my home district of Avondale, Arizona. The 13,000 children I serve in my school district depend on us to create a sustainable environment they can enjoy.
I’m proud to serve my community alongside Rep. Gallego as he tackles the short-term economic crisis of inflation while never losing sight of what is most important: our future.
Devin del Palacio is a Board Member for the Tolleson Unified School District and is also a member of HECHO’s Hispanic Conservation Leadership Council (HCLC).
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