ICYMI: Arizona Business, Environmental, Political Leaders Highlight Benefits of Bold Investments in Arizona’s Clean Energy Economy, Urge Congress to Act Now

Letter from 47 Arizona clean energy leaders sent to the Congressional delegation urging big, bold investments in clean energy in the Build Back Better Act.

*** Watch a recording of the call here ***

(PHOENIX, AZ) – Today, Clean Energy for America (CE4A) and Climate Power hosted a press briefing with State Senator Jamescita Peshlakai, Mosaic, Inc. CEO Billy Parish, Clara Pratte Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Navajo Power, and Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter Director Sandy Bahr to discuss how clean energy investments in President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda would help advance the state’s ambitious clean energy and climate goals, create jobs, and grow Arizona’s clean energy industry. The call comes as a letter organized by CE4A from 47 Arizona clean energy entrepreneurs, investors, business owners, and workers was sent to the Arizona Congressional delegation urging them to support big, bold investments in clean energy in the Build Back Better Act.

Below are excerpts from the speakers’ remarks:

Andrew Reagan, Executive Director of Clean Energy for America, highlighted the cost of inaction and noted that these investments would be paid for not by taxpayers, but by holding Big Oil accountable. Reagan said:

  • The Build Back Better Act is paid for by making oil and gas companies pay their fair share – but even more importantly, we can’t afford not to act. The cost of inaction is so much greater. As many noted, we’ve already experienced eighteen $1 billion or more extreme weather events this year, and it’s only getting worse.” 
  • “As we look to President Biden, we are very appreciative of his leadership on this issue as he and his Administration have emphasized the importance of action and bold climate leadership. We remain confident that Congress and the White House will deliver on this important issue for all Arizonans.”

Arizona State Senator Jamescita Peshlakai discussed how critical investments in the Build Back Better plan would benefit Arizona’s Tribal communities. Peshlakai said:

  • “As a member of a Tribal nation, many of our tribes have never been given the opportunity to build in the first place. And the investments that our leaders have the opportunity to make now will be a first-time investment in some of these communities and life-changing investments for our citizens.”
  • “Many of the Tribal nations – 22 tribes in Arizona, eight of which are in my district – lack basic infrastructure, running water, and electricity. Our citizens need these investments not only for safety, stability, but also for jobs and also to secure an inhabitable planet for our future generations.”
  • “And this is something that should have been done quite a long time ago. But now, those in Congress, our leaders, are able to act and use this opportunity to really change the world for all of us. Not just Arizona, not just the Southwest, but all of the United States and the globe.”

Billy Parish, CEO of Mosaic, Inc., detailed how these critical clean energy investments from the Build Back Better agenda can better the lives of all Arizonans by creating jobs and lowering costs. Parish said:

  • We know that clean energy is good for communities and good for the environment, creating thousands of good paying jobs in our state while providing cleaner air and protecting the environment. Arizona has unrivaled potential to become the leading producer of clean energy. 
  • The ambitious clean energy investments in the Build Back Better agenda would be a gamechanger for Arizonans. Arizona is already home to over 66,000 clean energy jobs. New research found that robust clean energy investments from the federal government would create nearly 100,000 jobs in Arizona every year for the next 10 years.” 

Sandy Bahr, Director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club, discussed how popular clean energy and climate investments are among voters and emphasized the cost of inaction. Bahr said:

  • “We are living on the frontlines of the climate crisis – extreme heat and drought, larger wildfires, and much more, which is precisely why we are fighting so hard to be a part of the solution. For those who say the price of Build Back Better is too high, we say the price of inaction is far higher […] why wouldn’t we want to pass the Build Back Better Act? It represents so many huge opportunities. We’ve seen what investments in clean energy can do in our state already with jobs, with helping to better protect our air to reducing water use, and the Build Back Better Act will give us more of that – more jobs, cleaner air, use less what, so what’s not to like?
  • “Our Senators have the opportunity to provide relief for millions of Arizonans, especially Black, Indigenous, and communities of color who are bearing the brunt of this climate crisis. The clean energy investments in this Build Back Better plan invest in clean energy production instead of Big Oil subsidies. And Build Back Better makes needed investments in our communities, our economy, and our future instead of wealthy corporations.”
  • “It’s really time for our Senators to listen to the people of Arizona and not the utility and fossil fuel executives. Arizonans are supportive of this plan. […] There have been many polls done in recent weeks that demonstrate Arizonan voters overwhelmingly support the Build Back Better Act. We also know that four out of five registered voters in Arizona support investments in clean energy […] we know that the Build Back Better Act is a political winner for those who support it. 

Clara Pratte, Co-Founder and President of Navajo Power, discussed the opportunities for Native communities to lead and how they would benefit from the clean energy investments in the Build Back Better plan. Pratte said:

  • “Arizona’s Tribes continue to provide so much to our state’s culture, history, and economy, and it’s time for our Congressional delegation to step up for us. But even as Tribal communities are disproportionately impacted by the growing climate crisis, we’ve continued to step up to the plate to become leaders in energy.
  • “The investments in the Build Back Better plan will expedite our transition – creating new opportunities for companies like mine, Navajo Power, and others to build a clean energy future in ways that we could not even imagine 10 years ago.”
  • “At Navajo Power we’re developing community-led clean energy projects that are bringing solar power to Tribal lands and most importantly, with Tribal community input and Tribal-based benefits. We’ve made strides in creating good paying jobs and lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, but we cannot stop this crisis on our own, which is why we need Congress to take bold action now.