Draft Bill Would Force Navajo Generating Station to Stay Open

May 16, 2018

A new draft piece of Republican legislation in Congress is designed to keep the Navajo Generating Station open. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it would exempt the coal-fired plant from federal environmental regulations.

The Navajo Generating Station
Credit Michael Friberg/ProPublica

The proposal would allow NGS not to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as a Clean Air Act program to reduce haze at the Grand Canyon.

According to a report by ProPublica, the plant burns 15 tons of coal every minute of every day, providing energy to pump Colorado River Water to Phoenix and Tucson.

Democratic State Representative Eric Descheenie says environmental concerns should be a top priority.

"These acts of desperation to try to save a dying industry is ill-conceived and really irresponsible to life—to human life. It reflects really a poor set of values in terms of how we’re executing governance," he says.

The plan, drafted by Paul Gosar, would prevent the Salt River Project, one of the plant’s owners, from decommissioning NGS ahead of its planned closure next year. In addition, it would force the Central Arizona Project to continue buying power from the plant.

An Arizona state audit last year found energy produced by NGS was significantly more expensive than energy bought on the open market.