PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne filed Thursday a motion for stay of final rule in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to prevent the implementation of proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
Horne said the regulations would force close to $1 billion in higher electricity costs on consumers in Arizona through changes at several Arizona coal-fired power plants that provide significant amounts of electricity to metro Tucson and Phoenix and many rural areas of the state.
The regulations would affect the Cochise County-based AEPCO Apache Generating Station, the Joseph City-based Cholla Power Plant and the Coronado Generating Station near St. Johns.
"The EPA rules are absurd," Horne said. "They would cost Arizona utilities $550 million, which would significantly raise utility rates for customers across the state. The EPA rules blatantly ignore a plan designed by the state of Arizona that would address environmental concerns without causing electrical rates to skyrocket. The EPA scheme that I am trying to stop is a generic and overbearing plan that tries to implement a visibility standard that cannot even be seen by the human eye. It is a perfect example of bureaucratic incompetence."
The operator of the Apache plant recently testified in a legislative hearing that tens of thousands of consumers in southeastern Arizona would be without electricity if the plant is shut down. There is no other power plant or adequate transmission system to replace the plant.
"The federal government wants to take parts of Arizona back to the dark, or at the very least, dim ages," Horne said. "That is just the opposite of what a responsible government should do, and I will fight this case vigorously."
The motion asks the court to take into account the tremendous economic impact caused by retrofitting or closing the plants.
Horne alleges the EPA did not allow the state to respond to the agency's concerns about the state plan, instead violating federal law by dismissing the Arizona plan outright and presenting its own.