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Environmental Groups Slam Arizona's Decision to Join Lawsuit Against EPA

Navajo Generating Station in Page, Ariz., a coal-fired power plant. Credit: EX3N/iStock
Navajo Generating Station in Page, Ariz., a coal-fired power plant. Credit: EX3N/iStock
October 26, 2015

PHOENIX - Climate change groups are speaking out against Arizona's participation in a lawsuit to block the "carbon rule" section of President Obama's Clean Power Plan.

On Friday, Arizona joined 23 other states in suing the Environmental Protection Agency saying its plan to force states to cut carbon emissions is an unconstitutional overreach of federal authority.

But Pedro Lopez, director for Chispa, a project of the League of Women Voters, says the state ought to be working on a plan to comply with the Clean Power Plan, not suing to block it.

"Overall, we are extremely disappointed that Gov. Ducey doesn't believe in climate change and is out of touch with Arizonans," says Lopez "It definitely shows Gov. Ducey is in the pocket of polluters."

In the lawsuit, Arizona is represented by the Arizona Corporation Commission, which is the only utility commission on the list. The Clean Power Plan would require Arizona's electricity generating plants to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Arizona's utilities have said they cannot meet those standards in time. Lopez says the final rule already was a compromise.

"The EPA accommodated utilities because they were complaining throughout the process," he says. "They fought this to water it down. They were given what they wanted, yet they sued the EPA."

The Clean Power Plan is now the law of the land. Barring a successful court challenge, the state will have to come up with a transition plan, or the feds will step in and enforce the rule on their terms.

Lopez' group held a rally recently to encourage the state to come up with an implementation plan for Arizona.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - AZ