Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich



Battle with E.P.A. Continues: Attorney General Tom Horne Files Motion to Stop Attempt to Shut Down Arizona Power Plants

Phoenix (Thursday, March 21, 2013) -- Another challenge to the Obama administration’s attempt to force nearly a billion dollars in higher electricity costs to Arizona consumers has been filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by Attorney General Tom Horne.

A Motion for Stay of Final Rule asks the Court to prevent the implementation of the proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations affecting several Arizona coal-fired power plants that provide significant amounts of electrical power to metro Phoenix and Tucson, and many rural areas of Arizona.

They include the Coronado Generating Station near St. Johns, Cholla Power Plant at Joseph City, and the AEPCO Apache Generating Station in Cochise County. 

“The EPA rules are absurd. 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,” Horne said. 

“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,” he added.

In the case of the Apache plant in Cochise County, the facility’s operator has testified in a legislative hearing that tens of thousands of consumers in southeastern Arizona would be completely without electricity if that plant is shut down.  No other power plant or adequate transmission system exists to replace the Apache plant. 

Horne noted, “The federal government wants to take parts of Arizona back to the dark, or at the very least, dim ages. That is just the opposite of what a responsible government should do, and I will fight this case vigorously.”

The Motion for Stay asks the Court to take into account the tremendous economic impact caused by closing or retrofitting the plants. The EPA is also cited for not allowing Arizona to respond to the agency’s concerns about the State plan, instead dismissing the Arizona plan outright and imposing its own, in violation of federal law.

A copy of the Motion is attached.