LB - Northland Motorsports

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS |
Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news May 26, 2016

6/10/2014 10:39:00 AM
Senate panel approves bill to streamline tribal energy development
Environmental groups claim bill allows more mining on Navajo land
Matthew Seeman
Cronkite News

WASHINGTON - Arizona power plants would have to make the second-highest reductions in carbon emissions in the nation under new rules proposed June 2 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA's Clean Power Plan standard calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions nationwide by 2030, compared to emission rates in 2005. Arizona power plants would not be called on to hit the lowest levels of pollution, but they would have to make one of the steepest reductions, at just over 50 percent.

When contacted last week, officials with the Arizona Public Service Corp. (APS), the Salt River Project (SRP) and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality said they were still reading through the proposal.

"What we're going to have to do is just look at all the options the EPA lays out and figure out what paths work for Arizona," said Kara Montalvo, director of environmental compliance and permitting for SRP.

Critics have charged that the new rules, announced by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, would make energy more expensive for all and would lead to a loss of jobs in the energy sector. But McCarthy said the nation has a "moral obligation" to act against climate change.

"The science is clear," McCarthy said. "The risks are clear. And the high costs of climate change keep piling up."

Besides climate change, McCarthy framed it as a public health issue. She said the new standards would lead to $90 billion in climate and health care savings.

President Barack Obama echoed that in a conference call June 2, saying the standards would lead to improvements in children's respiratory health.

"In America, we do not have to choose between the health of our economy and the health of our kids," Obama said. "We can do both."

The EPA proposal sets an emissions goal for Arizona power plants of 702 pounds of carbon per megawatthour by 2030, a nearly 52 percent reduction from 2012 levels of 1,453 pounds. Only Washington state was given a larger reduction goal, of just under 72 percent.

States would be allowed to choose their own methods for reaching reduction goals set by the EPA, such as cap-and-trade programs or increases in renewable energy. The proposal allows a 120-day comment period and aims to have goals finalized within a year. States would then have two to three years to submit their final plans for approval.

Two Arizona generating plants on tribal lands will not be included in the state's target goal. Navajo Generating Station and the Four Corners Power Plant - identified in recent reports as among the biggest emitters of carbon dioxide in the country - are two of four Native American plants nationwide that "would have the opportunity, but not the obligation, to establish a plan" to cut emissions.

Instead of working through the state, the tribal plants will work directly with the EPA to create or adopt their own programs.

Despite the ambitious goal it set for Arizona, the EPA in its guidelines also singled out the state as having one of the highest energy efficiency resource standards in the U.S. It cited the Arizona Corporation Commission's 2010 decision to achieve a 22 percent energy savings from all investor-owned utilities by 2020.

APS played a key role in those goals, the EPA reported, saving 3.2 percent of energy from 2011 to 2012, exceeding the goal of 3 percent and saving consumers more than $200 million in 2012.

McCarthy on June 2 downplayed critics' claims that the new limits could cost jobs, saying similar claims have been raised - and refuted - in the past when the government has set environmental standards, pointing to rules for smog and acid rain, for example.

Far from costing jobs, groups supporting the proposal said the standards would create jobs and save consumers money. A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council claimed the new standards would create 274,000 jobs and save power customers $37.4 billion in 2020.

But a study commissioned by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce - released recently, when it was thought that reduction goals could be as high as 42 percent - found that such a goal could lower the nation's gross domestic product by an average of $51 billion and lead to 224,000 fewer jobs each year.

Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, DFlagstaff, said the proposed guidelines would hurt her district, home to four coalfired power plants. Coalburning plants produce more carbon emissions than any other type of plant.

"I will not support efforts that kill jobs in my district and lack provisions for responsibly transitioning us toward a clean-energy economy," Kirkpatrick said in a statement released June 2.

But others welcomed the change.

Tucson Vice Mayor Paul Cunningham was one of several state and local elected officials who signed a letter to the president last month supporting the tougher emissions standards. Cunningham said the state should focus more on renewable energy and less on coal, which he called an outdated technology.

"Anything that takes us one step closer to solar and Arizona being energy independent is better," he said.

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Mapmaker continues quest to document indigenous cultures
New documentary focuses on Native American veterans on Navajo Nation
Letter to the editor: Where do children learn to speak fluent Navajo?
Delegate Edmund Yazzie continues work for Thoreau, N.M. clinic
Pirates of the Navajo Nation under attack

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Flagstaff, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

Find It Opinions Features Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
LB - Northland Motorsports

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Navajo-Hopi Observer is the information source for the Navajo and Hopi Nations and Winslow area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved