(Phoenix, State Capitol)—Arizona’s economy could soon be feeling the effects of higher electricity rates under regulations recently announced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a group of state lawmakers was told Monday.
In a rare joint committee hearing chaired by Senator Gail Griffin (R-Hereford), members of the Senate Government and Environment Committee and the House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Representative Frank Pratt (R-Casa Grande) heard testimony from state air quality regulators, utility officials, a hospital executive, union representative, and the Director of the Navajo Nation Environmental Protection Agency, all of whom agreed that new regulations announced by the EPA could have a significant, negative impact on Arizona’s economy and its ability to attract and create new jobs.
“This is a non-partisan issue that has alarmed Republicans and Democrats alike,” Senator Griffin said. “Regardless of how one feels about the EPA, there is nothing logical about requiring Arizona residents to pay a billion dollars for regulations that make virtually no improvement in visibility and have nothing to do with public health.”
The regulations in question stem from the EPA’s interpretation of the Clean Air Act, which requires states to formulate ‘State Implementation Plans’ (SIP) to improve visibility at ‘Class-1’ federal areas such as national parks. The regulations do not address public health.
In July of last year, the EPA rejected Arizona’s plan to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) and, in an unusual and legally questionable move, required Arizona to discard its plan in favor of an EPA-drafted Federal Implementation Plan.
Photo credit: dherrera_96 (Creative Commons)