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EPA should go with option to keep Navajo Generating Station open

Signals from the Environmental Protection Agency that the agency is taking a positive view of Salt River Project’s and other stakeholders’ proposal to keep the Navajo Generating Station near Page operating is good news for Arizona utility ratepayers.

The Navajo Generating Station provides electricity to more than a million homes in the Southwest and is the main source of energy needed to move much of our state’s water supply across Arizona. The plant provides much-needed jobs to the Navajo Nation and is an economic engine for the state.

Those jobs were placed at risk when the EPA presented owners of the power plant with two undesirable options: Spend hundreds of millions of dollars to install technology at the plant in hopes that it would have a substantive effect on visibility at the Grand Canyon and pass muster with the feds, or begin to take the plant offline.

So give credit to SRP and the varied interests in a technical working group for arriving at a responsible alternative that put aside their own agendas to reach an agreement that not only protects the Grand Canyon, but a valuable energy resource as well.

The working group, which included representatives from SRP, the Navajo Nation, Central Arizona Project, the Environmental Defense Fund, Western Resource Advocates, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Gila River Indian Community, resisted a polarizing approach and ultimately developed a proposal that exceeds the EPA’s emission-cutting results, but avoids shutting down the plant.

The agreement is not perfect. Although it might be the regulatory equivalent of kissing your sister, it does serve the best interest of all Arizonans.

The EPA should adopt the plan and keep the Navajo Generating Station open and the jobs that come with it thriving.

Glenn Hamer, president/CEO, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

One comment

  1. Any plan to keep NGS open long term should include a plan to convert to Nuclear, one SMR at a time until capacity exceeds current coal maximum. This could easily be funded by a carbon tax on emissions. No jobs need be lost. NRC would need to be proactive, perhaps waive licensing fees. Just dreaming.

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