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Arizona’s senators should stop energy blackouts back home

Regulators in Washington, D.C., don’t seem to want the people of Arizona to keep their lights on.

When I represented the Grand Canyon State in the U.S. Congress, the so-called “environmental movement” was certainly extreme. But now, it’s gotten to a point where the “powers that be” seemingly don’t even want us to be able to power our homes.

J.D. Hayworth

Last month, power companies across Arizona warned regulators that blackouts might soon be on the horizon. Among the factors to blame for the state’s shortage of energy: wildfires, droughts and a lack of new power plants in-state.

What’s Washington, D.C.’s “solution” to this crisis? To ignore it and make it worse in the name of “climate justice,” of course.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently attempted to pass a rule that would have made it impossible or nearly impossible for anyone to create a new natural gas pipeline in Arizona or anywhere else.

The rule’s new climate change threshold would have made it mandatory to disclose the amount of natural gases emitted at every step of the pipeline production process. This is an unreasonable request that would have effectively stopped all new natural gas production in the United States.

FERC knows this but doesn’t seem to care. In fact, to FERC and the rest of the “climate warriors” inside the Beltway, an end to new natural gas production isn’t regarded as bad news, but good news. It means more energy is conserved in the name of “climate justice.”

These Washington know-it-alls just don’t get it. Cocooned in their well-appointed offices and expensive townhomes, they do not understand the struggles and stresses faced by the people of Arizona. But academic observers, industry professionals and other experts confirm that Arizona has a real risk of facing blackouts in the coming years.

And that’s the underlying problem with this radical leftist environmental movement — it’s orchestrated by elitists who are oblivious to (and won’t have to live with) the consequences of their choices. Their actions are reckless, irresponsible, and need to end.

Sharp concern expressed by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, caused the gun-shy members of the FERC commission to move this disastrous anti-natural gas rule back into draft form. But they can resurrect it at any time. That’s why Arizona’s senators, Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly, should get involved.

Kelly serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which oversees FERC. He is uniquely positioned to express the concerns shared across the state of Arizona and work closely with Chairman Manchin to stop the efforts that would put natural gas on the “back burner.”

It has been said that “good policy makes for good politics,” and Kelly has the chance to learn that first-hand. While the National Republican Senate Committee is running ads that claim our freshman senator votes with Joe Biden 97 percent of the time, here is the golden opportunity for Kelly to “make his mark” and stand up for the home folks.

Likewise, the Senate’s reputation as the “world’s most exclusive club,” affords Sinema the opportunity to appeal directly to Chairman Manchin and make the case for Arizona as our senior senator. Despite our many disagreements, it has been made clear to me by business and community leaders in our state that Sinema has gone out of her way to ensure that she always takes into account the concerns of the people back home. While laudably supporting clean energy production, clean energy tax credits, and other sensible measures, she has, in the past, stood up for Arizona’s right to create the energy future it wants for itself.

As an unsuccessful Senate candidate in 2010, and an Arizona resident, I have more than a casual interest in following developments that affect my home state. Whatever my disagreements with our two Democratic senators, they pale beside our urgent need to protect the availability of electric power in the place we call home.

Our two senators will need to stand in the breach to ensure that FERC stands by its self-professed highest priority of “helping assure the public receives affordable and reliable electric and natural gas service” by killing its proposed natural gas rule. Whether Arizona can keep the lights on in coming years will depend on it.

J.D. Hayworth represented Arizona in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 until 2007. 




One comment

  1. I fail to see how disclosure of methane leaks from production through delivery will halt an entire industry. First, remote sensing technology is quite advanced. Second, isn’t it in the best interest of gas companies to know how much of their product is flowing through their system and is being lost through leakage at wellheads and pipes? Wouldn’t reducing the amount of leakage be a win-win for companies (by reducing product loss) and the public by addressing methane leakage (a powerful greenhouse gas)? Third, in my experience having certainty in regulation supports investment and uncertainty (the possibility of new regulations) hinders investment.

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