“While many answers to climate change require national and even international action, cities often have the unilateral power to craft local rules like building codes. But before the city of Tucson could even look at possible building reforms, the Republican-led state legislature took away its power to do so — by passing a state law that natural gas utilities are “not subject to further regulation by a municipality.”
Supporters of the Republican bill were trying to beat climate advocates to the punch and “preempt” restrictions on fossil fuels. “We wanted to get ahead of what we viewed as an economically damaging trend, and stop it before it could gain a foothold here,” says Garrick Taylor, a spokesperson for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, one of the lobbying groups that supported the bill.
With those few lines of text, Arizona blocked a path for cleaning up a significant source of Tucson’s climate pollution — even as nations around the world are racing to transition to cleaner energy and slow disastrous climate change.”
“Arizona was the first of many US states where “localities are cut off at the knees, because they’re in states where lawmakers are hostile” to these kinds of climate regulations, says Sheila Foster, a Georgetown University professor who specializes inurban environmental law.
Interest groups for the natural gas industry, worried about losing energy customers, have now promoted bills in half the country to strip cities of basic powers to set greener building codes and help phase out fossil-fuel pollution. These “preemption” laws have swept through 20 state legislatures; three more states have bills pending this year.”