By New Times
By Connor Radnovich
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Ray Stern
By Keegan Hamilton
By Matthew Hendley
By Monica Alonzo
By Monica Alonzo
If he doesn't get the information by the time the sunset review process is under way, DEQ had better watch out, Groscost says. He can always shove the bill in his bottom drawer, and DEQ would be history.
"Agency accountability has been something of a hallmark of my administration," he says. "We believe that if we tell an agency to do something, that in fact they should not only be accountable, but we should have some sort of baseline, some sort of benchmarks to measure just how well they've done it. And with DEQ, we have some very real questions about . . . whether that has occurred."
The speaker doesn't want to give EPA control; he insists that DEQ could easily be parceled off to other state agencies.
"I'm not going to say that those functions can all go away. I certainly am not that simplistic. There's very important jobs being done by DEQ, whether they're being done well or not.... Our preference is to take the current agency, make it responsive and also make sure... that they're complying with and enforcing the policy of the state."
The most likely scenario, Groscost says, would be a one- or two-year extension for DEQ. Schafer says she's aiming for the maximum, 10.
Bahr is waiting to talk about DEQ with the governor.
"I haven't had any requests for meetings with Sandy," Kathi Tees insists. "I would be happy to meet with her or with anybody else. . . . Everyone on our staff is like that. Governor Hull is very consensus-building, that's been her philosophy."
Maria Baier, the governor's point person on environmental issues outside of DEQ, did not return repeated calls.
. . . Republicans must unite to end the War on the West. Environmental laws, truly the most egregious of all regulations, must be controlled. . . . I check weekly to make sure my grandchild's dog Kelsey has not been placed on the [Endangered Species] list.
-- Governor Jane Dee Hull, October 5, 1997, in a speech to the Western States Republican Leadership Conference
Some day the federal government will realize jobs are more important than small animals.
-- Jane Hull, Sierra Vista Herald, September 11, 1998
Obviously, there are some major problems in Tucson. They tried to build a school and they found a nest of these cute little pygmy owls that actually belong in northern Mexico. If you want to see them, you can go to Mexico and see plenty of them. . . .
Obviously, state land is one of our big resources that we want to use up.
-- Jane Hull, KTAR radio, June 30, 1999
Robin Silver is still waiting for an answer to his letter to Governor Hull, dated November 14, 1998. In the letter, Silver, of the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, requests a meeting with Hull, and does not hold back in expressing his concern over her environmental record.
"When former Governor Symington left office, we were hopeful that such attitudes at the Governor's office would change," Silver wrote. "We were particularly hopeful when it became apparent that then Secretary of State Jane Dee Hull, the 'kindly grandmother' and former school teacher, would be our next Governor. Unfortunately, little has changed. Many of us within the environmental community have been deeply concerned by the continuing animosity toward protection of Arizona's imperiled native wildlife by our new Governor."
Silver only fueled the animosity when, upon not receiving a response to his letter, he crashed a luncheon in December sponsored by Valley Forward, a group of local business leaders, at which Hull was honored with the first-ever Quality of Life Award -- for her contributions to the environment.
Hull did not attend the event. Maria Baier, who advises the governor on environmental issues, accepted the award in her place. Silver says Baier was not amused when he and others handed out copies of Hull's comments about the Endangered Species Act.
"We have no access to the governor. So the only way we can even get her attention is we have to have interaction in public," Silver says, recalling that Baier "was incredibly angry, thought that was rude."
One of Silver's cohorts crashed another meeting recently. Hull met with Pima County environmentalists this fall, but the Sierra Club and Southwest Center were not invited. Stephanie Buffum, the Southwest Center's director of development, heard about the meeting, and crashed. So did Tony Davis, a reporter for the Arizona Daily Star.
Buffum was allowed to stay, but Davis was asked to leave -- supposedly at the request of the environmentalists. He wrote about the meeting anyway, reporting that while some environmentalists said they left satisfied that Hull had heard their concerns about Growing Smarter and endangered species, Buffum was not happy.
"Her [Hull's] big thing is to say that she's met with everybody interested," Buffum says. "Now she can say she's met with Pima County environmentalists. So it was a courtesy call, nothing more than that."
One of the topics was the endangered pygmy owl, whose protection could jeopardize development of a number of large housing and highway projects in the Tucson area. The owl's habitat stretches over more than 700,000 acres. Buffum says Hull was ill-informed on the issue. She's not wrong: In her June radio show, Hull mentioned that she was upset with the U.S. Forest Service over the pygmy owl issue -- when it's actually the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that has jurisdiction over endangered species.