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Tobin Upset with SRP

Tobin Upset with SRP
February 07
10:56 2017
Andy Tobin

Andy Tobin

Andy Tobin is a person of interest in the current Navajo Generating Station (NGS) controversy. Mr. Tobin is a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, which is the state’s public utilities commission. He was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey.

In a letter last week to the Salt River Project (SRP), a key owner of NGS, Tobin expressed his displeasure with how the SRP is reacting to their possible closure of NGS, and suggested their attitude was “hostile.”

In the letter Tobin accused SRP of being insensitive to the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe, saying the rest of the state of Arizona will suffer, as well, if the plant is closed.

Lake Powell Communications spoke with Andy Tobin on Monday of this week.

“I’ve asked SRP to please slow down,” said Tobin.

He told SRP that if this is about the lower rate for natural gas, let’s sit down and have “that” conversation. But he says SRP will not agree to sit down with him.

“We are not a state that has natural gas,” Tobin old us. “So we’re reliant on import, and that’s concerning because we don’t have a storage facility here for natural gas.”

He wants to be sure SRP takes the transportation and storage into consideration.

“This involves the entire community of Arizona; the entire state. It’s our objective to work together, to find better solutions and not do something that is done speedily for today’s gain versus tomorrow’s failures,” said Tobin.

He suggests with the lower cost of natural gas, compared to coal, they are in a hurry to reap the savings.

“But once you no longer have coal, if that is where this is going, you have one less tool in the toolbox and supply and demand calculations start changing,” he added. “So when the costs for natural gas start rising, where then do you go? Can’t we just slow down and watch these technologies as they’re moving?”

He believes that after all the money spent on the plant, and on new EPA regulations, SRP shouldn’t be running around in a rush to shut it down.

He adds that with the new administration in Washington coal might just make a comeback, price-wise.

“They will be backing off the EPA from the craziness we continue to see from them. But that will affect both the price of coal and the price of gas, so I think it’s awash,” he said. “At the end of the day having less regulations and getting the government out of the way is going to help both equally. I think the president’s position on coal is clear.”

He reminded the SRP in his letter last week that the closure of the power plant would be devastating to the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe. And he believes the way SRP is handing the situation is unacceptable.

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