State Capitol News
Wed October 14, 2009
Brewer lobbies against expensive coal plant retrofit
By Howard Fischer
Phoenix, AZ – Governor Jan Brewer is trying to stop the Environmental
Protection Agency from requiring installation of some expensive
new pollution equipment at a major coal-fired power plant.
The EPA is looking to mandate that the utilities that own the
Navajo Generating Station use what's called best available
retrofit technology to cut pollution that reduces visibility in
the Grand Canyon. Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said the
benefits need to be weighed against the costs.
"No one cares more about the Grand Canyon than Arizonans. But
these additional ramifications must be considered as part of a
sustainable environmental and economic program. And at this
point, they're not even being considered in the process."
Brewer claims that what EPA wants will cost 10 times as much as
alternative technology for just a 50 percent increase in the
pollutants trapped. She said the expense will be borne by
ratepayers of Arizona Public Service and other utilities. But
Sierra Club lobbyist Sandy Bahr said she sees the question of
environmental benefits and expense in another light.
"I suppose at some point you would get very little improvement
for your pollution controls. But that would be if you were
talking about a clean plant. And we're not."
Brewer said the issue goes beyond utility costs. She said at
some point what EPA wants could make it too expensive to operate
the plant and force it to shut down, causing economic harm to the
Navajo and Hope reservations.