Last week, Arizona's Senate passed S.B. 1393 which declares that the Arizona State Legislature has exclusive authority to regulate anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gases ("GHGs") and substances, including PM10 and PM2.5. The bill also makes it "a violation of civil rights" and "unlawful under Arizona state law" for any governmental official to attempt to enforce federal laws or regulations that aim to "restrict intrastate emissions of … greenhouse substances." The bill aligns with three popular conservative positions: states' rights, limited government, and scepticism over global warming. Unfortunately, the most likely effects of the bill, if it is ever enacted, are to (1) cost the state money to defend it in court, and (2) potentially lead to an EPA takeover of all ADEQ's air programs.
The bill contains a large portion of what are essentially legal arguments based on the U.S. and Arizona constitutions for the bill's conclusion that a state has the authority to do what it attempts to do. However, it is highly unlikely that a federal court would agree with these arguments. The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently held that the federal government has very broad powers to regulate interstate commerce, and S.B. 1393's repeated references to "intrastate" GHG emissions is a clear fiction.
ADEQ's new director, Henry Darwin, has already expressed his opposition (subscription required).
The primary sponsor of S.B. 1393 was Senator Sylvia Allen of District 5, a consistent critic of environmental regulations. Eleven other Republican lawmakers signed on as co-sponsors. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration and will also need to be signed by Governor Brewer before becoming law.
A companion bill passed by the Senate on the same day, S.B. 1394, instructs Arizona's governor to enter into compacts with states that have statutes similar to S.B. 1393 to assist each other in enforcing the laws. It also creates taxpayer standing to sue the chief law enforcement officer of any party state for failure to enforce the laws. In fact, these suits can be brought in the courts of any party state. So, if Arizona ever enters a compact under S.B. 1394, its Attorney General could be sued by a taxpayer from any party state in the courts of that state.