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Feature Story

Arizona legislators update business community on environmental policy, water legislation

After being sidelined by the pandemic last year, Arizona legislators are back in session and moving quickly this week to revive and enact bills to protect water and natural resources to provide for citizens and businesses for decades to come.

There is no time to waste. Arizona is now into its 21st year of a scorching drought that is depleting the most important water resource in the Southwest, the Colorado River.

Ground and surface water are now more important than ever. To that end, state lawmakers are rushing to revive and fast track critical bills that will help protect and conserve both.

“The name of the game this session is companion bills to move them,” state Sen. Sine Kerr, R-Buckeye, said about committee chairs in both houses working in tandem to push through “mirror” bills on water and natural resources that never made it to the finish line last year due to COVID-19.

Kerr, who is the chair of the Senate Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee, was one of several lawmakers and state officials who updated the business and manufacturing community last week on the bills they are working on during the virtual Environmental Issues Breakfast Legislative Kickoff hosted by the Arizona Manufacturers Council (AMC) and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Snell and Wilmer sponsored the event.

Other speakers included Rep. Gail Griffin, R-Hereford, chair of the House Natural Resources, Energy and Water Committee, and Rep. Tim Dunn, R-Yuma, chair of the House Land, Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee as well as officials from Governor Doug Ducey’s office and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).

One of the measures that has been revived and is fast-tracked through committees is known as the “use it or lose” bill that is important to business and manufacturing.

“Use it or lose it” legislation  

The legislation, HB 2675, would create an important new step to conserve groundwater, the speakers said.

It would repair a quirk in current law that acts as a disincentive to conserve water. That’s because current state forfeiture law provides that a water right may be lost after five years of non-use.

That has done little to encourage water holders to conserve supplies, the speakers said.

HB 2675 would remove that barrier and ensure that water holders’ conservation efforts will not result in the loss of water rights. Under the proposal, a water right holder could file a Water Conservation Plan with the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR). Upon filing a plan, the holder’s water rights would be shielded from a claim of abandonment or forfeiture.

“If you have five acre feet of water and you only need to use three acre feet, we want you to save and not lose your right to it,” Griffin said. “Right now if you don’t use the allocation you stand the risk of losing that right.”

Surface water protection bill 

Another piece of legislation important to manufacturing and industry is a bill to protect surface water from contamination. It is needed to address changes to the federal Clean Water Act last year that removed federal jurisdiction over certain small bodies of water in states.

With that federal jurisdiction removed, Arizona needed to add some protections of its own, said Amanda Stone, intergovernmental and community affairs director for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), who spoke at the event.

If approved by the Legislature, the bill would provide surface water protections for water that is used for things like recreation, fishing and drinking, Stone said.

Other waters, called ephemeral waters, are excluded from protection unless they are connected to protected waterways. These are streams that flow only for a short time, usually after a large storm or snowmelt when there is an increase in water runoff.

The bill, HB 2456, would duplicate many of the former federal rules and place them under state jurisdiction. One rule would require that a permit must be obtained from the ADEQ before pollutants can be released into certain bodies of water.

It also provides steps to work with farmers, businesses and other organizations up front to prevent water contamination.

“It’s not only good for the environment, it’s good for the business community,” Stone said.

Wildfire prevention, removal of invasive species, nuisance lawsuits

Legislators also talked about a host of other bills the public can expect to see this session, including forest restoration and wildfire prevention to protect watersheds in the northern portions of the state.

Other measures include funding to remove invasive species like saltcedar that is sapping waters and streams and wildlife habitats across the state, continue a cleanup of contaminated groundwater wells in Tucson, and to enact “nuisance” lawsuit protection for farmers and the agriculture industry from frivolous lawsuits.

About the Arizona Manufacturers Council

The AMC is the official state affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. AMC acts as the voice for Arizona’s manufacturing industry, which has been a major contributor in keeping Arizona’s economy afloat during the pandemic. Currently, the industry employs about 177,000 workers statewide and pumps about $30 billion annually into the economy.

The Council holds regular meetings to bring together environmental policy experts, industry stakeholders and state legislators to discuss Arizona’s most pressing environmental issues. These events often are free to the public. For more information, visit: AMC events.




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Manufacturer of the Year

Arizona Manufacturers Council event honors innovators, discusses important issues facing sector

Leaders in the field of manufacturing from across the state gathered at the Arizona Biltmore last Thursday for the Arizona Manufacturers Council’s Awards and Summit event. The event featured panel discussions and guest speakers from the industry and culminated with the Manufacturer of the Year awards ceremony recognizing those companies that have made significant positive contributions to the manufacturing and the broader state economy.

In his opening remarks, AMC Chairman Mark Gaspers congratulated the companies represented at the event for their resiliency during the pandemic and highlighted recent significant investments, including by Intel, which is in the midst of a $20 billion expansion in Chandler.

Workforce development in focus

A panel on the state’s manufacturing sector workforce featured Darcy Renfro, the chief workforce and economic development officer for Maricopa County Community College District; Kolu Wilson, workforce program deputy administrator for the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity; Dave Garfano, executive director of the Arizona Manufacturing Extension Partnership; and was moderated by Dawn Grove, general counsel at Karsten Manufacturing and the past chair of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry and previous chair of the AMC.

The main focus of the panel was the work that various businesses and community colleges were putting in to prepare young people for the workforce. One such example is Drive 48, a program at Central Arizona College that trains prospective workers for hands-on manufacturing jobs with a special focus on advanced automotive manufacturing, which is essential for the new Lucid electric vehicle plant in Casa Grande.

The panelists were in agreement that there are many programs for both workers and businesses to take advantage of to obtain additional training and recruit new skilled workers.

Sober assessment from U.S. Rep. David Schweikert

Arizona Chamber President and CEO Danny Seiden interviewed Arizona United States Rep. David Schweikert, who spoke about the activity on Capitol Hill surrounding President Joe Biden’s attempts to pass both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a multi-trillion-dollar social spending package known as Build Back Better, which contains a litany of tax increases that would harm job creators.

Schweikert also urged businesses to become more involved in the issues that are pertinent to their success saying that he’s concerned “business has lost its voice.”

Schweikert hit an optimistic tone, however, on the rate of life changing innovations hitting the market.  He spoke about the possibility of a cure for Type 2 diabetes in the near future saying that it “could be the best thing our society does.”

Gov. Ducey touts economic achievements

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey closed out the summit portion of the program. “We’ve run a marathon in our state,” Ducey said referring to Arizona’s experience in the pandemic.

The governor said the economy is rebounding to a point where it’s surpassing the pre-Covid economy.

Ducey took the opportunity to remind the audience of the things that set Arizona apart from other states. He touted his administration’s work to push back against “anti-growth policies” that slow economic growth. Arizona, he said, can go toe-to-toe with other states such as Texas and Colorado in winning new job investments.

The event concluded with an awards ceremony that honored state businesses and leaders for everything from innovation and sustainability to economic contributions. The honorees were:

Original Chamber Business News Article HERE

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October Manufacturing Month Highlights

Manufacturing Month celebrations continue with the Arizona Manufacturers Council’s 2021 Made in Arizona tours

In keeping with tradition, Governor Ducey declared the month of October 2021 as Manufacturing Month in Arizona. During Manufacturing Month, the Arizona Manufacturers Council, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry and many other organizations come together to celebrate the state’s robust manufacturing industry and its many contributions to the state, nation and the world.

Manufacturing Month is an opportunity to build excitement about careers in manufacturing, particularly for the newest generation entering the workforce. Today manufacturing is clean, diverse, high tech, and sustainable. It is no longer the dark, dirty, dangerous work of the past that so many envision.

On October 7th, the Arizona Manufacturers Council and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry kicked off Manufacturing Month celebrations with the 2021 Manufacturing Summit and Awards Luncheon at the Arizona Biltmore Resort. The morning Summit featured a panel discussion about one of manufacturers biggest obstacles – attracting and retaining quality works. Featured guest speakers at the morning Summit included Governor Ducey and Rep. David Schweikert (AZ-06). The event wrapped up with Manufacturer of the Year awards ceremony where six companies and two individuals that have made significant contributions to the manufacturing industry and Arizona’s economy, were honored.

The 2021 winners included:

Manufacturing Month celebrations continued on October 20th with AMC’s Made in Arizona tours. Attendees, comprised of elected officials, industry experts and business leaders, toured three unique Arizona-based manufacturers and one homegrown, woman-owned Phoenix brewery.

Guests saw firsthand why Arizona is rapidly becoming the number one destination in the world for advanced manufacturing investment and job creation.

Host sites included:

Dolphin Inc.
Purchased by Karsten Manufacturing Crop. In 1972, Dolphin has continued to be a leader in precision investment castings for over 48 years. Whose key markets include the railroad, automotive, aerospace, and military to name a few.

Their state-of-the-art facility offers a full range of prototyping, in house non-destructive testing, heat treatment, process engineering, wax assembly automation, and robotics capabilities.

TYR Tactical
In fall 2016 TYR Tactical broke ground on their new 78,000 sq. ft. facility in Peoria, AZ.  This expansion gave them ability to not only increase production capacity but also create hundreds of new jobs in the Phoenix area.

The utilization of state-of-the-art textiles, along with extensive field testing, has culminated in the creation of many new products with the aim to revolutionize tactical equipment for the “Next Generation Warrior®”.

EMD Electronics
With over 58,000 employees in 66 countries, EMD Electronics is driven to find solutions to some of today’s toughest challenges and create more sustainable ways to live.

Their tools, services and digital platform make research simpler, more exact, and help to deliver breakthroughs more quickly. While their solutions accelerate access to health by assuring tests are accurate and the medicine we take can be trusted.

As experts in the Healthcare, Life Science and Electronics sectors, they offer specialized and high-quality products while maintaining that they are, “The company behind the companies”.

Greenwood Brewing
The tour concluded with a tour of homegrown, woman-owned, Greenwood Brewing located in Downtown Phoenix. Greenwood’s Slogan is the Power of the Purposeful Pint, and they foster this in their beers and their brewery. Megan Greenwood, and her team at Greenwood Brewing, take pride in learning something new, having that difficult conversation, or disagreeing better – for better or worse – all over a Purposeful Pint.

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Manufacturing News

Glenn Hamer: A Fireside Chat How Arizona is Posturing Itself as a Manufacturing Landing Place

Glenn Hamer, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry President and CEO participated in the 2020 World Manufacturing Forum - North America. Mr. Hamer joined Ms. Teresa Lynn, Senior Operations Director at IMS International, where they ... Read More

The State of Manufacturing in Arizona – Policy Impact Summary

The state of manufacturing in Arizona – Policy Impact Summary

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Help for Arizona manufacturers hurt by pandemic

The industry is expected to add more than 12,000 new jobs in the state by 2020 according to the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). OEO projects an annualized growth rate of 3.6 percent for the manufacturing sector between 2019 – 2020.

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Arizona’s standout leaders for manufacturing receive awards

The industry is expected to add more than 12,000 new jobs in the state by 2020 according to the Arizona Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO). OEO projects an annualized growth rate of 3.6 percent for the manufacturing sector between 2019 – 2020.

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