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home : opinion : columns April 29, 2016

8/9/2013 6:02:00 AM
Column: Obama, the EPA and energy costs

Paul Gosar

Salt River Project, operator of Navajo Generating Station, recently announced it would shut down 33 percent of the plant with an agreement that will likely shut the entire plant by 2044. In other words, by the time my 20-year-old son turns 50, NGS will be history.

Also history: the nearly 1,000 jobs that run the electrical and mining operations. Of the 920 jobs, 33 percent will be terminated soon. A federal 2012 government study showed that the electric plant resulted in nearly $1.3 billion in coal-royalty payments to the Navajo and Hopi economies since 1987.

The jobs that will be lost are good jobs. The average annual wages and benefits at the Kayenta Coal Mine total $117,000 per year, and more than 90 percent of the miners are Native American. More than 80 percent of all NGS jobs employ members of the Navajo Nation.

Though Native Americans will suffer the brunt of this disastrous policy, all Arizonans will pay. If you use water or electricity in Arizona, you will soon be paying more for both. The closure of the plant and the reduction in productivity will result in a reduction in our energy supply and higher costs.

How did we get here? I don't blame SRP. It played the best hand it was dealt. As The Arizona Republic noted, SRP was given a Hobson's choice by the federal government: Spend over a billion now to keep the plant operating for a few more years (with no guarantee of a year or even five years more) or start shutting the plant slowly and keep it going as long as feasible. SRP chose the latter.

The dismantling of the electric plant is due to the Obama Environmental Protection Agency's unnatural fixation with destroying the coal industry. President Barack Obama stated publicly that he will see to it that coal plants are taxed or regulated out of existence. The president is now using the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to attack carbon fuels.

I will give the president credit: He kept his word to kill coal. The EPA claimed that NGS emissions needed further technology improvements (at a cost of $1 billion), even though Obama's National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that there is no evidence that installing the new technology would lead to any perceptible improvement in visibility at the Grand Canyon or nearby wilderness areas.

The EPA wanted $1 billion for "improvements" that actually would not change anything - except raise your utility rates by more than 66 percent. Now, you see why SRP cut a deal.

Congress rejected previous cap-and-tax energy plans proposed by the president and his big-government allies. Knowing he can't lawfully enact a carbon-dioxide tax plan, Obama is unlawfully directing his EPA to impose strict limits on carbon emissions from existing coal and gas-fired facilities. What is happening at NGS is happening to our eastern Arizona coal plants and many other important facilities across the country. At stake are hundreds of jobs families rely on to put food on the table. At stake are energy prices that will surely skyrocket should we limit our energy supply.

I remain committed to being a voice in Washington for the people most impacted by the president's war on affordable energy and war on jobs. I am holding a congressional hearing in Mesa on Aug. 22. Joining me will be Reps. Matt Salmon, Trent Franks and David Schweikert. Please join us and let us know how you feel about the EPA and its unlawful actions.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: It is Important to Know Who Benefits From our Representative's Actions

Mr. Gosar should have started out his article with a disclaimer something like...It should be noted that I have accepted (or have been pledged) $$$$ by the companies, industry officials, stockholder, and/or those which will benefit from coal and fossil fuel based energy producers.

Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Article comment by: With Representatives Like Gosar We're in Trouble

My God, with people like this in charge of our future, all of our children are in trouble. A representative from AZ should be a major force for solar technology for energy production. He should be pushing to build solar energy component part factories here. He should be pushing to have every new home roofed with solar panels. He should be pushing to move our state (and our country) to total clean energy independence.

Posted: Saturday, August 17, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

"Least the Keystone cost the tax payers $0.00"

Twice you have posted this incorrect information. I suggest you do some research before looking foolish for a third time.

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Where are you, Gosar?

Did you know that Amsoil now has an entire lubricant division for WIND ENERGY LUBRICANTS, due to the huge boost in green energy production.

Or did Amsoil create an entire product line and division based on something that doesn't even exist? Not hardly.

The composites industry is booming due to the sales of materials needed to make wind energy --- even Republican congressmen are fighting to give their energy companies MORE tax credits, and extend the ones that they already got from Obamas Stimulus package.

Those credits are worth their weight in gold.

And what are Republican congressmen doing in the meantime? Are they encouraging green renewable manufacturing plants to come to the state? Or are they still fighting to keep aged, expensive, outdated and polluting energy while the rest of the states take all the opportunities from us?
Yeah. Thought so.

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013
Article comment by: Jeff Stoneberger

@Anson's Nephew

4 million jobs? Really? Isn't that what the 780 stimulas was for? Remember the "shovel ready jobs"? Even our Marxist President admitted they weren't as shovel ready as he thought.
Btw, it was 780 billion spent 4 times! Since that 780 billion was put into the baseline budget. Se we actually spent 3.1 trillion. Where's the jobs?
Least the Keystone cost the tax payers $0.00

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“You do the math.”

Okay, the Labor Department estimates that the passage of a comprehensive jobs bill would put as many as 4 million Americans to work repairing and building roads, bridges and schools.

Love math! Try again.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Jeff Stoneberger

Well Anson's Nephew, according to the state department, the Keystone pipeline will create anywhere from 15,000 to 20,000 direct jobs to additional 20,000 indirect jobs. You do the math.

Even if it were 50, it's still 50 more than Solyndra, and wouldn't cost the tax payers a penny.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

"...his green energy companies, to the last one all went under."

Not true, but we are used to that from Ms Athens. Maybe someday she will...oh never mind.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: biker randy

Mr. Gosar, I applaud what you are trying to convey. But if you read these public responses you will sadly see how many voters are brainwashed and ignorant of the truth. This is what's wrong with this nation today. It's called Liberalism, whose participants never admit they were wrong and learn from it. Instead they just stick to the same old theories they have accepted with no regard for their misled results.

Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Article comment by: Anson's Nephew

“… all he has to do is green light the Keystone Pipeline, and that wouldn't cost the tax payers a penny. 40,000 to 50,000 jobs frm that pipeline is a good start.”

It’s fascinating to watch how these numbers keep inflating. A few months ago it was 2,000 jobs, then it went to 10,000 jobs, followed by 25,000 jobs and now we’re up to 50,000 jobs. At this rate every man, woman and child in the Mid-West (using rightie logic) will have a job on the Keystone Pipeline.

And the president is, in my opinion, simply following the will of the people and the states that don’t want to see this potential environmental disaster built across their state.

If this pipeline is so great why have the Canadians blocked the movement of these filthy tar sands oil across Alberta and British Columbia? If it’s such a “good deal” let the Canadians move the oil on their own land.

And you know, the Republicans can create jobs simply by stopping their obstructionist nonsense and getting behind jobs bills that deal with our nations infrastructure and schools. THOSE JOBS would put MILLIONS of Americans to work.

Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013
Article comment by: Jeff Stoneberger

@The Fox Hound

Its not the governments jobs to decide what power we use, thats the free markets jobs.

If Obama wants jobs, all he has to do is green light the Keystone Pipeline, and that wouldn't cost the tax payers a penny. 40,000 to 50,000 jobs frm that pipeline is a good start.

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: David Gaither

Kathy Vickery wrote:

"He will be in the history books as the worst president this country has ever seen."

Exactly right! It's really sad for him, because, with the likeable personality he has, he could have gone down in history as one of America's best presidents, had it not been for his misguided socialist agenda!

Posted: Sunday, August 11, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

@ Trained Observer

The unemployment rate under Bush's first term was slightly over 5%. The Republicans knew that the best way to "assist" job creation was to keep government interference at a minimum.

In 2006 the Dems took both houses of Congress and started to pass bills that allowed the Government to mettle in the economy. Mortgages are one example.

Bush warned of the impending crisis in FANNIE and FREDDIE but was shut down by Congress where the Dems had cronies who were running the 2 mortgage agencies.

This led to the crash in 2008.

All of the "job assistance" the Dems have pushed on us since Obama was elected have stagnated the economy. It is not the job of the government to create jobs, or to regulate business into creating jobs. It never has worked and it never will.

Even all of the jobs created as a result of the government creating new government jobs is designed to fail. Taxes need to be increased to pay for expanded government and that squelches private sector growth, which will cause less revenue though taxation.

Posted: Saturday, August 10, 2013
Article comment by: Kathy Vickery

I've yet to meet a person who says they voted for Obama. Just how did he get another term? He has nothing to lose now. He will be in the history books as the worst president this country has ever seen.
That is, if this country is still standing by the time he's out. Which at this moment, looks doubtful.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: ole guy

Not long ago I read that Germany is going back to it's coal plants because the solar and wind enrgy plants are NOT producing enough energy to run the country!

Remember, Obama told us that our "utility bills will skyrocket!" How nice that he's looking out for us old folks that can't afford higher utility bills!

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Lost In America on the right wing

When are going to decide to be American, Mr. Gosar? Please resign.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Just Say-en

"THE JOBS THAT WE'LL BE LOST ARE GOOD JOBS. THE AVERAGE ANNUAL WAGES AND BENEFITS AT THE KAYENTA COAL MINE TOTAL $117,000 PER YEAR.......". How out of touch are these representatives? Or are they just plain misleading. $117,000 a year works out to $9,750 a month. $2,250 a week. $56.25 an hour. Hogwash. Not even if their benefit package had two weeks vacation a year, a gold plated health plan, full dental, 10 days a year sick time, 12 holidays. Like in the 70's.
No Mr.Gosar, what's at stake is our world.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: David Gaither

It's issues like this and thousands more that I hope the people of our country will finally decide that we have had enough of this "tear down America" administration, and finally realize that they must put a Republican administration back in power to reign in these socialist, big government departments.

Time to wake up minorities, independents and those few good Democrats that still remain. This administration is not leading this country to the kind of society that you and your kids want to live in!

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Linda Athens

Reliable report after report shows the scandalous amount of jobs already lost or that will be from the destructive policies of this administrations EPA regulations.

All in the name of phony global warming and anything "greenie" they can hook on to. And of course, besides losing jobs, fuel prices will go up and up.

We see how well he used our money with his green energy companies, to the last one all went under.

I often wonder if we will ever make it through three more years of this administration. I know he manipulated some of the regs until after his re-election last year. This from James Inhofe.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: American Working Family

Here are the top 5 reasons biofuel mandates in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are actually bad for the environment:

Producing and consuming corn ethanol could double greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years.
19,000,000 more acres of corn have been planted this year than were planted 7 years ago. Using more land for corn takes a major toll on America's grassland and wetlands.
We'll need to convert another 30 to 60 million acres of land into farmland by 2022 to meet the rising biofuel requirements that the RFS demands.
Ethanol contains 33% less energy per gallon than gasoline, lowering your car's fuel economy.
It takes 3 to 6 times the water to produce ethanol than to produce gasoline.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: Trained Observer

Perhaps Gosar isn't up to speed on anything (anything!) but coal is a finite resource. It is also an industry that causes major pollution. Other countries in the world are putting in solar, wind and water turbine energy systems because these are renewable and cause less potential for pollution. (tho nothing is 100%). Instead of lost jobs, the real issue here is decreasing income to the super rich such as the Koch Bros. and other big players. Having Gosar comment on jobs is pretty hilarious given the Republican record for assisting in "job creation" in the last decade. In case the R's. didn't notice, most of us don't want to be serfs. We want control of our own lives, energy-wise and reproduction-wise.

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

Wow what a surprise that you and your republican friends are fighting for Big Coal. You make it sound like the President wants to destroy jobs and hurt the tribe when nothing could be further from the truth. Changing how we generate power will create jobs not destroy them. But those jobs won't be in the coal industry which is one of the biggest polluters in the country. The Koch brothers get what they pay for. Good representation from its bought and paid for Congress.

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