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February 12, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Focus on Sustainability: Maricopa Solar Power Plant

  |   Video
  • A hearing was held recently on a proposed 300-megawatt solar power plant in Maricopa. The Maricopa Solar Park Project would be built on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. BLM Arizona representative Dennis Godfrey will discuss the idea.
  • Dennis Godfrey - BLM Arizona
Category: Energy   |   Keywords: sustainability, maricopa, solar power, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Tonight’s look at sustainability issues, focuses on a massive solar power plant is being planned for blm land near Maricopa. Here to tell us how much land will be needed and how much energy will be produced, it's Dennis Godfrey, of the bureau of land management's Arizona office. Good to see you and thanks for joining us.

Dennis Godfrey: Thank you for having me.

Ted Simons: Maricopa solar park, where will this be located?

Dennis Godfrey: This is, this is do west of the town of Maricopa. And about, I don't know, 10 to 12 miles west of there, on about 1700 acres. Of blM land, Federal land managed by the bureau of land management, and it would generate 300 megawatts of electricity when the sun was shining.

Ted Simons: Why this particular piece of land out there?

Dennis Godfrey: This is the, the proponent, the company that's interested in this site, looked at it and said, this looks like ideal, the ideal land for, for solar, for a solar plan, it's flat, it's relatively unvegetated, and coincidentally, it was a site that we had picked in a study, and the blm, that this yes, this appears to be a suitable site for renewable energy.

Ted Simons: In that study, was it close to transmission lines or to water? What was looked at?

Dennis Godfrey: That's exactly right, it was where the transmission lines are, where is the need for the power. And is it relatively close to that. And we do it without affecting water, are there low -- or limited or, or no natural resource conflicts, that means cultural or biological, are there animals there in danger, and we concluded that this appears to be an area that's, that's pretty suitable for solar energy.

Ted Simons: And yet more environmental impact studies are needed, correct?

Dennis Godfrey: Absolutely. We have done a first look at that, at that site, we have amended our land use plans that this, this is a suitable site for renewable energy, but, we still have to do a full environmental impact statement.

Ted Simons: What kind of timetable?

Dennis Godfrey: That generally take about two years. And we may get a break because of the earlier work. But, pretty much we're down the road a ways.

Ted Simons: So, you mentioned 300 megawatts of power?

Dennis Godfrey: Correct.

Ted Simons: What does that mean as far as households?

Dennis Godfrey: That's roughly, I have heard estimated 70,000 households.

Ted Simons: Oh, my goodness. That's huge.

Dennis Godfrey: That's very large. And when the sun is shining and it's generating electricity, of course.

Dennis Godfrey: Indeed, and this is now photo volaic?

Dennis Godfrey: Proposed as a photo voltaic site, which means when the sun shines it generates energy.

Ted Simons: It also means there needs to be cleaning of these things, which would necessitate water needs, what kind?

Dennis Godfrey: Pretty limited water needs. Yes, some cleaning, but they anticipate that that's once a year, and maybe twice a year, and probably the equivalent of about, about 15-acre feet or about 15 households per year.

Ted Simons: That's it, per year?

Dennis Godfrey: That's for a photo voltaic site, that's what they would need, for a large capacity plant.

Ted Simons: So, what would happen to the power that's generated? Would it be stored? Would it be sold here? Would it be sold elsewhere? What, what about that?

Dennis Godfrey: The nature of photo voltaic, it has to be used at the time it's generated. This company that is proposing this says, they are looking for a utility to buy it, they want someone to say, we need your power, and we will take it. That has not come to any conclusion. They don't have a contract. It's very preliminary. But, yes, this is intended to be a utility scale project. Serving a large area.

Ted Simons: So, no utility? It's speculative there?

Dennis Godfrey: I have not -- I know of none.

Ted Simons: Ok. All right. And this marisol energy from Italy?

Dennis Godfrey: they don't like to consider themselves as an Italian company, they consider the principles are, are Italian, but they consider themselves to be an international company. They have done work in south Africa, and other places, and, but, to my knowledge, this is their first experience in North America.

Ted Simons: The work in south Africa and other places successful? Any problems?

Dennis Godfrey: Not that I know of. They tell us that, that, that south Africa has a similar kind of environmental setup as the United States, and that they were able to navigate that, and have a working plan.

Ted Simons: When we talk about solar activity on blm land in Arizona, what else is going on and how far along in the process is it? Is this the only project?

Dennis Godfrey: We have applications in Arizona for about 20 solar plants. We have one that, that we have, basically, said, approved, and sonoran solar near south of Buckeye, and the company that is, that is proposed to build that is holding off waiting to sell the energy. I have not started work on it, and we have a couple of other plants, one near courtside, and that are nearing completion of the environmental impact process. And we have about 15 to 17 more that are on applications and the companies have not chosen to pursue them aggressively at this point.

Ted Simons: So the application are in or the applicants are there, but it's a matter of getting it done?

Dennis Godfrey: Of them choosing this is a time and place to do it.

Ted Simons: And that's solar power, what about wind power?

Dennis Godfrey: We have -- our wind in Arizona is primarily in the northern part of the state. And we have a, a working plant to, dry lakes on, partially on blm land in the northeast northeastern part of the state, and we have a site near are Kingman, that is moving towards environmental impact statement being completed, a large wind powered plant. And we would expect to see some, some decision on that from the bureau of land management this year.

Ted Simons: So, back to the Maricopa solar park, what do we look for here now in the months and years?

Dennis Godfrey: well, not much is going to happen for a few months. We have had a lot of interest. People wanting, looking for jobs and so on, and it's just premature for that. And but, we would anticipate about mid year, that we would begin our process. And that, that, that gives the public a chance to speak out and say these are the things that you ought to consider about this site. And these are things that may not know about. And you should know about them, so we will welcome and encourage that, and we'll have public meetings and a comment period, and then we'll kind of retreat and, and prepare a draft environmental impact statement.

Ted Simons: All right. Very good. Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

Dennis Godfrey: My pleasure.

Janet Napolitano’s Political Future

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  • If Hillary Clinton decides not to run for President in 2016, one candidate democrats might field would be former Arizona Governor and current Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Arizona State University Pollster Bruce Merrill will discuss the possibility.
  • Bruce Merrill - Pollster, ASU
Category: Government   |   Keywords: government, napolitano, politics, future, ASU, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: A recent article in the Washington post reported that former Arizona Governor and current Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano is quietly making it known that she would like to be considered as a democratic presidential candidate for 2016 if Hilary Clinton does not enter the race. Joining us now is Arizona State pollster Dr. Bruce Merrill. Good to see you again.

Bruce Merrill: Good to see you again.

Ted Simons: Would Janet Napolitano be a viable candidate?

Bruce Merrill: Sure she would be. You know, she was one of the most popular Governors we have ever had in Arizona. When we were polling on her, she was up, her numbers were up 65, 70%, and she's certainly been a competent secretary of Homeland Security. At a time that that's a big job. And so, I think that you said it right. I mean, I think that it all depends on what Hillary Clinton decides to do. And then she still would have some tough competition from the Vice President who wants to run, also.

Ted Simons: Interesting. And now, as far as Janet Napolitano is concerned, you mentioned being there at the Homeland Security, does that help or does that hurt.

Bruce Merrill: Well, I think the fact, you know, Janet Napolitano is, is not a person that really seeks out a lot of publicity. She's a, kind of a worker bee and has done a very good job, so, I don't really think that there is anything that I have seen that, that has been a big enough foulup that they would say ok, this is your fault, I mean, it's obviously always more complex than that, but she's had a pretty good record on her watch, frankly.

Ted Simons: As far as illegal immigration, stepped up enforcement on her watch. And that's an interesting dynamic because, because some folks. To see stepped up enforcement, and the Latino vote, which is considerable more important, in politics around the country, how does that play there?

Bruce Merrill: Well, you know, what's interesting about weeks, it's two issues. Not just one. There is the border issue, being much tougher on the border, and you know, she oversees the border patrols, she oversee the coast guard, and which is really what you would need to have much stronger enforcement of the border issue. And the other issue, about illegal immigration is what to do with these 12 to 15 million people in this country, that have been here for a long time. And I think that she has taken a pretty moderate position, so, I don't see anything that would hurt her so far, Ted.

Ted Simons: As far as the immigration issue?

Bruce Merrill: As far as the immigration goes.

Ted Simons: And back to the cabinet, and I was not aware of this. Herbert hoover, the last cabinet official to go from the cab, from the cabinet to the White House?

Bruce Merrill: It does not happen very often, what happens with the cabinet members is they are kind of paint with the performance of the President. And so, a lot would depend on how well President Barack Obama comes out of his last turn, if the country is in good shape or not.

Ted Simons: You mentioned how popular he was in Arizona at the time. Is she still that popular? It feels like the state changed a lot in the last few years.

Bruce Merrill: It has changed a lot, and not only in the media society but once you are out of the public view, you drop like a rock. It's like pouring water into the sand, so, frankly, if we did a poll, I doubt that that, 30, 40% of the people would really know that, that she was Governor of Arizona.

Ted Simons: Do you think, let's, let's jump way ahead now to the general election, and she is the candidate. Would she carry Arizona?

Bruce Merrill: Well, you know, it's hard to say, I didn't think that, that Barack Obama could beat Hillary Clinton. Frankly, and so, politics is so uncertain, the other thing that needs to be talked about, is can she raise a billion dollars. And that's about what it takes.

Ted Simons: Right.

Bruce Merrill: To run for President. And the other thing that it takes is if she is truly going to run or if Hillary Clinton is, they have to start almost immediately. It takes four years any more to build the organization. To do the, the microtargeting, build the list, the computer model, and there is not a lot of downtime if she will run. She'll have to decide quickly.

Ted Simons: Ok, let's touch on some other issues here that will, no doubt, be touched on. Is America ready for an unmarried President?

Bruce Merrill: Oh, golly. We're certainly moving in the direction of being more tolerant. The polls have changed enormously on that. And many states now are moving towards, you know, much more moderate position on people that are single. And, and it will be a factor, I think, for her, but, I don't think that it would be something that would disqualify her.

Ted Simons: I think, and I also think of Chris Christie, the Governor of New Jersey, where people, a lot of people think that he's doing a swell job there, yet, all they talk about is his weight. Is America ready for a heavy President? Again, I should say, but it has been so long.

Bruce Merrill: Well, you know, it's a legitimate thing to, to, to think about because the American people, you are supposed to not only vote, you are supposed to cast what's called an enlightened ballot. And many of us are very concerned that, that most of the electorate knows very little about these terribly important issues. We did a study and looked at health care. We figured that five to 6% of the people in Arizona really have any substantive information about Obama care, so, you know, we live in a media society. The media creates reality, and people interested in, in some of these softer issues, gossipy issues, and it's a fact of life.

Ted Simons: And yet, we asked the same question is America ready for a black President, and we asked if America was ready for an LDS President, the race was relatively close, so it seems like the questions may be more academic?

Bruce Merrill: I think so. And again, I think that, that you can create an image if you have the money to do so in the media. The only reality that there is in America is that, that the people see on television, and on the media. So, it's a long way away. I think that she is a terribly competent person. I think that you should not underestimate her. I think that, that having any realistic chance, is a long shot for her.

Ted Simons: Last question, what about statewide office in Arizona?

Bruce Merrill: Well, you know, I would think that she would be competitive at that level again. The Republicans are divided with the Tea Party element, and the moderate Republicans. And I think secretary napolitano has want to be a United States Senator. That's fairly well-known. And it's conceivable that in four years, we could have an opening, although, I think that anybody that writes Senator McCain off that early is crazy. But, if he should not run, I think that she would be a very strong candidate.

Ted Simons: All right. Interesting stuff. Bruce, good to have you here.

Bruce Merrill: Always good, Ted.

Mental Health First Aid

  |   Video
  • In light of recent gun violence, an Arizona lawmaker is introducing a bill to help render mental health first aid to those in need. Representative Victoria Steele will discuss her bill with Barbara DiClemente, a Mental Health First Aid Specialist from First Presbyterian, a behavioral health organization.
  • Victoria Steele - Representative, Arizona
  • Barbara DiClemente - Mental Health First Aid Specialist, First Presbyterian
Category: Medical/Health   |   Keywords: medical, health, mental, first aid, ,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Recent mass shootings around the country have led many to examine the roles of gun in society, the events have also led to questions of how mental illness factors in. A bill has been introduced in the state legislature that would provide half a million dollars for a program that helps people recognize and respond to signs of mental illness and abuse disorders. Here now to talk about her bill is representative victoria steele. And also, joining us is Barbara DiClemente for first Presbyterian, a behavioral health agency, she's also a certified trainer for mental health first aid. Good to have you here and thanks for joining us.

Victoria Steele: Barbara DiClemente: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Mental health, first aid, what are we talking about here?

Victoria Steele: Mental health first aid is a program that trains the trainers. So, it trains people on how to identify people who are experiencing a mental health crisis. How to intervene effectively, and how to get them the basic care and get them to a professional.

Ted Simons: Were these things that were lacking prior? They sound common sense here.

Victoria Steele: It does sound common sense, and I keep saying this, but it's so true. In our society, we are better prepared in general, just basic people, better prepared to help someone who is having a heart attack then someone having a panic attack. And that's nice to see, thanks to CPR and first aid training, so if someone breaks their leg we know how to help. If someone has a heart attack, we know how to help. But if somebody says, I'm thinking of killing myself, we want to run. Because we don't know how to help. If somebody has mental illness, we don't understand it. And we look away. And I'm a counselor, so that's, that's what I do and, and you know, I understand how, how terrible the stigma is around mental illness.

Ted Simons: Is it getting better with that stigma on both ends from those who suffer and those who respond?

Barbara DiClemente: We're trying to get it better, and I think that mental health for a state is really going to break the barrier. I say that the mental health first aid has taken the fear out of mental health. And the stigma will always be around with us, but education, education, education is what's going to stop it.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about the education. You have a friend there.

Barbara DiClemente: My little friend.

Ted Simons: His name is algae.

Barbara DiClemente: Algae.

Ted Simons: But he's a Koala bear.

Barbara DiClemente: The program was originally developed by Betty kitchner. So the Koala bear was the mascot, we just kind of like use him now, we put usa on him, and he is our mascot for mental health.

Ted Simons: And algae is an acronym, let's start with the a, assessing risk of suicide. How do you know?

Victoria Steele: Well, that's why need the training. Because, because most people don't really know what's happening. And a lot of times, what you really need to do is just ask the question. Are you thinking of hurting yourself?

Ted Simons: And that's as simple as that?

Victoria Steele: Yes.

Ted Simons: Do you get, do always get the, an accurate response? Or again, is it a lot of Bobbing and weaving here?

Barbara DiClemente: Usually, but what we're doing is really teaching the every day person to ask these questions. And I was working with a woman teaching a class, and when she left the class she went home and her brother called her and said I'm thinking of committing suicide, and, and she said, well how? And he said, well, there is a tree outside, and she says when? In about an hour, and from what she learned in mental health and first aid, an hour after she left me, she saved her brother's life. And right now, he's doing marvelously.

Ted Simons: And I am guessing that, that this happened because of the, going through the name here, the l is listen, non judgmentally? That, can that be difficult at times?

Barbara DiClemente: The hardest part of it, but the most important, I tell my student, should we have two ear and is one mouth? So why are we talking so much? We should really listen more, and people most of the time, my family members, they just want a person to talk to. And it helps, and that is the most important part. One of the most important parts of this.

Victoria Steele: And one of the things that I really want people to know is we're not trying to make clinicians out of everybody. We just want people to know the basic elements of reaching out and helping a neighbor. So, this training is for people who are coaches. People who are moms and dads and neighbors. And people who work with the public. People who work in education, first responders. Police officers. And anybody. Should have this training, so that they know how to give help, and if somebody is having mental health crisis.

Ted Simons: And again, know how to give help, would be to encourage appropriate professional help and to encourage self help, and there is two es in algee.

Barbara DiClemente: Victoria Steele: Yes.

Victoria Steele: And we want to help get people to the proper level of treatment. Maybe all they need to do is talk to their minister. Maybe they need to be hospitalized. We don't make that determination but we help to figure out where do they go? Where do we get them connected to the community resources? So, that's all part of that training, and I think that, if we had this, we might not have seen as much violence as we have seen.

Ted Simons: And yeah, and it's a good point because I think people are watching, you know, thinking well, wait a minute, what if there is a Jared Loughner around? You recognized it. You assessed it, you understood it, and you have gone through the algee, if you will, what do you do next?

Barbara DiClemente: You get him help. And you alert other people to what's going on with him. I, truly believe that, that if, if everybody said that when they were with Loughner they were petrified of him, I really think if they had taken mental health, first aid they would have been alerted to the signs and symptoms, and they could have averted it. I'm not 100% sure. Nobody is. But, I think that it would have helped.

Ted Simons: And I guess, I get, the question is how far can you go alerting authorities and these things. I mean, the individual rights aspect comes into play, regarding mental health, and it's a complicate issue.

Victoria Steele: And that's all part of the training. Who you tell, when, and how. And but.

Ted Simons: And how forcefully.

Victoria Steele: One of the things we need to do is raise the literacy around mental health so there is no stigma any more, so that people are not afraid to talk about it. And one of the most difficult things for a parent to say is, is my child, has a mental illness. That's really tough. And that should not be. Because it's just another disorder. It's just another thing that can be treated just like cancer.

Barbara DiClemente: When my daughter was diagnosed 20 years ago, and I literally wished that, that she was diagnosed with cancer. Because I was so ashamed, I didn't know who to turn to. And people ran from me. And now, I realize that I say to everybody, that if it wasn't for her, I would not be doing this. And this is why I help other parents and other family members and the community at large, to show them that there is help because I never wanted another family member to have to go through the shame and the stigma that my family went through.

Ted Simons: Are you hearing similar stories from families that go through the program?

Barbara DiClemente: 24-7. That's why they come to me. They can't talk to anybody else, but they can talk to me.

Victoria Steele: And I just say that this is a really important bill. This is probably one of the most important things that I may do while I'm in office. I just really feel that strongly about it. And I'm working with my Republican counterpart, I'm a democrat, he's a Republican. And his name is Ethan ore, he's the primary on this bill, and we are working together, and we have the support both parties. I have not gotten any pushback at all from this.

Ted Simons: And real quickly, last question, this is an existing program that's looking for additional funding.

Victoria Steele: Right, so we can get more people trained.

Ted Simons: And it's out in and you have got the Koala bear there to remind people that it exists.

Barbara DiClemente: Exactly. It's a two-day certified class, and it's a marvelous experience for everyone. Because everybody thinks that bipolar and schizophrenia are the main parts of mental illness, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and they are rampant, and our neighbors, our family members, and we need to get this out.

Ted Simons: All right. Well, it's good information, it's good to have you both here, along with the bear there, and thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.

Victoria Steele: Barbara DiClemente: Thank you very much.