Corp Comm rejects SRP natural gas proposal

Corp Comm rejects SRP natural gas proposal

The Corporation Commission turned down a proposal from Salt River Project to expand its natural gas generating station in Coolidge.  

The commissioners voted 4-1 against the proposal with the lone “yes” coming from Republican Justin Olson, is running for U.S. Senate. 

 The vote came after a group of about 20 demonstrators including residents of Randolph – a historically Black community that’s adjacent to the Coolidge Generating Station – gathered outside the ACC offices this morning to protest SRP’s proposal.  

Holding signs with slogans like “Randolph deserves clean air” and “This is environmental racism,” residents like Jeff Jordan explained their opposition.  

“The proximity of the location, the health effects that we will develop; also, with this expansion, it’s going to erase a lot of history in the community, and so those are just some of the reasons why we oppose the project,” Jordan said. “I personally do not have anything against SRP – I don’t. I have a problem with the location and the development of this location.”  

 The project was also opposed by advocacy groups including the Sierra Club and Arizona Public Interest Research Group.  

Ryan Bentz, a founder of the Social Justice and Engineering Initiative, said on Tuesday that “Randolph should be defined by more than the polluting industries that surround it. What we are witnessing here in Randolph today is the textbook definition of environmental racism.”  

SRP’s plans called for spending $1 billion on 16 new gas units, which it said could power about 200,000 homes. It would have more than doubled the size of the plant, which currently has 12 gas units. The corporation said the expansion is needed to provide power to the rapidly growing Phoenix metro area.