Urban Fold

Arizona Activist Defends Planning from Tea Party Assault

Greg Hanscom profiles Stacey Champion, an environmental consultant and PR specialist who uncovered, and defeated, shady efforts to ban sustainability planning in Arizona.

Champion's heroic effort went as such: "Last spring, [she] caught wind of a bill moving quietly through the legislature that would prevent the state, county, or city governments from "adopting or implementing the creed, doctrine, principles or any tenet of the United Nations Rio Declaration on Environment and Development" - a pledge to promote eco-friendly development and eradicate poverty that was adopted along with Agenda 21. It would also ban state and local government membership in ICLEI, a nonprofit that has become the object of wing-nut conspiracy theories everywhere," explains Hanscom.

"The bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Judy Burges, had used a special 'strike everything' amendment to sneak the bill through the state Senate and into the House."

Through dogged lobbying, social networking, and general busy-bodyness, Champion was able to bring the potential economic (and evironmental) harm of the bill to the attention of local reporters, politicians, and the national media, before it could pass a final vote in the Arizona House.  

"The story eventually made national headlines," says Hanscom, "and the bill died after the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry came out in opposition, citing concerns about the state's image. (As [Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon chapter] puts it, 'Looking crazy is not good for business.')"

 

Full Story: Stacey Champion took on the Tea Party — and won

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