by Patrick O’Malley
Precinct Committeeman (LD12)
At the EPA Hearing on November 14, the EPA asked those who wished to speak to come up and take a seat at the front table two at a time for efficiency. So I’m making my comments and the guy sitting next to me is with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Is he supposed to be the balance to my conservative comments? No, we are both there trying to convince the EPA to leave Navajo Generating Station (NGS) alone. Or at least leave something in operation after they make their final ruling, because we both clearly see the damage changes at NGS will have on Arizona’s economy. It’s not just a federal authority out of control or state’s rights issue. This agency is messing with our everyday lives.
There were about 200 people at the hearing and about 100 of them made statements. It broke pretty cleanly into the Sierra Club wanting quick, drastic changes that will close NGS, and everybody else. Everybody else included legislators, union workers, Central Arizona Project, farmers, Indian Tribes, and average citizens. Rep. Warren Petersen and Joy Staveley from Canyoneers wanted the EPA completely out of our business and to back off completely from NGS. They have the right principles for the long term fight with the EPA, but I’m afraid it’s too late for principles to triumph on NGS.
The Technical Working Group (TWG) Negotiates a Surrender
In June of this year the Technical Working Group (TWG) got together and proposed a negotiated surrender as opposed to having the EPA force them into an unconditional surrender. TWG consists of Salt River Project and the Department of the Interior as major owners of NGS; Central Arizona Project (CAP) as the biggest customer of NGS; Gila River Indian Community as a major customer of CAP; the Navajo Nation because NGS is on their land, and they supply the coal to make it go; and two environmental groups, Environmental Defense Fund and Western Resource Advocates. The Sierra Club was originally part of TWG, but walked out when the plan wasn’t severe enough to satisfy them.
So why didn’t the State of Arizona get a seat at the TWG table? Technically because the EPA is dealing directly with the Navajo Nation and it’s not an Arizona issue, but it’s safe to assume the other members of TWG were afraid a State of Arizona representative couldn’t be trusted to surrender fast enough.Read more