Monday, June 6th, the Arizona Corporation Commission voted 3-2 to reject the request for a special meeting for a reconsideration by Salt River Project attorneys. Monday’s vote reconfirmed the earlier 4-1 vote that occurred in April.
As individuals in attendance from the town of Randolph cheered the vote, attorneys for SRP looked bewildered and defeated. Commission Chair Lea Marquez Peterson and Commissioner Justin Olsen sided with SRP on the vote.
Commissioners Anna Tovar and Jim O’Conner, along with Commissioner Sandra Kennedy, voted to reject the request.
Randolph, a predominantly Black township near Coolidge and Florence, was founded in 1925 due to fact Black people were not allowed to own property in certain areas of Phoenix and the state. Now, with a small population, the utility company wants to expand at the community’s expense.
Commissioner Kennedy had several questions for the SRP team and was obviously not satisfied with their responses.
“I know exactly what it feels like for powerful entities to take advantage of my community when they perceive it doesn’t have the power to stand up for itself. For decades my neighbors and I were told where we can and cannot live. The people of Randolph established their community because they were not allowed or welcomed anywhere else.
“Today, Randolph is surrounded by polluting industries because these people were forgotten, discounted and overlooked. In the year 2022, we cannot allow in another chapter in this tale of environmental injustice to be written. Instead, we can show the people of Randolph, again, that the Corporation Commission has their back.”
With the increase need for agriculture workers which arose in the late 1920s, hundreds of farm workers migrated to the area in the 1930s. many of those who settled in Randolph were black migrants from Oklahoma.
Dianne Post represented the community of Randolph pro bono after talking with the NAACP branch. She along with representatives from the Sierra Club weighed in on the issue supporting the Randolph community position.
Commissioner O’Conner, who withheld his vote until the other members voted, remarked,” I want to be very clear to the good people of Randolph and the good people of SRP, this is something I think we decided wisely a month ago and I think we ought to close the door on that.”
He also said that he believed the issue will wind up in court.
Commissioner Kennedy Las took the opportunity to address the letter from the members of the state legislature.
She said that the letter was “beyond inappropriate.” She then proceeded to add, “It is not any surprise to see this letter from legislature leaders trying to repay the PAC that paid them off.”