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Groups challenge AZ lawmakers to focus on conservation, environmental justice

A coalition of groups gathered at the state capital Tuesday to call attention to environmental quality issues.

This comes ahead of the new legislative session, which begins next week.

The groups represent a cross-section of Arizona nonprofits promoting clean energy, conservation and environmental justice.

Although federal agencies call the shots on a number of issues, the state can have a big impact on environmental health, from air and water quality to utility regulation, and its decisions can affect tribal and low-income communities.

Sandy Bahr of the Sierra Club said the state need to change its approach to a number of environmental issues, including groundwater conservation.

“We need to get serious about water issues in Arizona. And that’s why we’re asking the Legislature and governor to pass and sign bills to measure, and limit groundwater pumping throughout Arizona,” Bahr said.

They called for incoming Gov. Katie Hobbs and the Legislature to focus on climate change, water conservation and land protection.

Ron Dungan has lived in Arizona for more than 35 years. He has worked as a reporter, construction worker, copy editor, designer and freelance writer. He's a graduate of the University of Iowa, where he was a member of the undergraduate Writers’ Workshop, and has a master’s in history from Arizona State University.Dungan was an outdoors reporter and member of the storyteller team at the Arizona Republic, where he won several awards, and was a contributor on a border project that won the 2018 Pulitzer for explanatory reporting.When not working, Dungan enjoys books, gardening, hanging out with his German shorthaired pointer, backpacking and fly-fishing. He's a fan of the Arizona Cardinals and Iowa Hawkeyes.