Arizona Renewables Ballot Initiative Violates Single Subject Rule?

Arizona Constitution.jpg

The Arizona Constitution contains a separate vote requirement provision that applies only to initiated constitutional amendments. This requirement states that multiple amendments must be voted on separately.  Arizona features rules preventing multiple changes to the constitution from being included in one initiated constitutional amendment.

The Renewable Energy for a Healthy Arizona Amendment violates this rule because it addresses two separate items: 1) 50% renewable energy requirement by 2030 and 2) Credit transfer program.   According to the Single Subject Rule, there should be a separate vote requirement for the credit transfer part of the REHAA.  The REHAA initiative has a provision that could 'sever' the Credit Transfer Program from the percentage renewables requirement, but the transfer component is so intricately intertwined with the other part of the initiative that it cannot be severed.  The initiative states:

Section 3. Severability

The People of Arizona declare their intention that the provisions of this Constitutional Amendment is held invalid for any reason, the remaining provisions of this Amendment shall be severed from the void portion and given the fullest possible force and application.

Renewable credits are transferable:

C. Renewable Energy Credits

          3. An owner of a renewable energy credit or distributed renewable energy credit may transfer such credits to another party.

Such a renewables credit transfer authorization basically establishes an alternative for meeting the annual renewable energy resources requirement.  There isn't much guidance in the transfer clause so there could be wide interpretations as to how participants can meet their annual renewable energy requirements.  The bottom line is that the credit provision appears to violate the Single Subject Rule.

In fact, participating utilities are required to use the credit system:

Section D. Annual Renewable Energy Requirement

          1. Each affected utility shall be required to satisfy an annual renewable      energy requirement by obtaining renewable energy credits from eligible renewable energy resources.

In fact, the credit transfer program is in direct competition with other credit trading programs:

D. Annual Renewable Energy Requirement

3.  An affected utility that trades or sells environmental pollution reduction credits or any other environmental attributes associated with KWH produced by an eligible renewable energy resource may not apply renewable energy credits derived from that same KWH to satisfy the requirements in this section.

The initiative clearly recognizes the transfer as being similar to Cap and Trade programs.  The important point is that it is a separate issue item that violates the Single Subject Rule.

This requirement clearly weds the credit trasfer portion of the initiative so closely to the 50% provision that it cannot be separated out via the severability section.  This conflict renders the ballot initiative null and void and the Secretary of State or the Attorney General should remove it from the November ballot.  (Ballotpedia)