Congressman Paul Gosar On The Fight To Stop The EPA Water Grab

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Rep. Gosar: Huge Victory in the Fight to Stop the EPA’s Lawless Water Grab

“Today’s decision is another massive blow to an administration that continues to run roughshod over the rule of law and disregard our nation’s checks and balances”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after a federal appeals court issued a nationwide stay blocking the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule resulting from a lawsuit filed by 13 states, including the state of Arizona:“As federal courts around the country continue to limit the Obama Administration’s lawless, overreaching regulations, the bureaucratic minions forcing these policies down our throats should take notice. No president or D.C. bureaucrat is above our Constitution. For the good of our country, I pray that this misguided effort to illegally push an ideologically-driven agenda, will continue to be thwarted by our judicial system. Furthermore, those who are knowingly violating the law to impose job-killing regulations by executive fiat should be held accountable. Today’s decision is another massive blow to an administration that continues to run roughshod over the rule of law and disregard our nation’s system of checks and balances.

“WOTUS is a job-killing, overreaching new regulation that would be a dream killer for future generations and result in significant job losses as well as considerable harm to our economy. This terribly flawed Washington mandate contradicts prior Supreme Court decisions and seeks to expand agency control over 60% of our country’s streams as well as millions of acres of wetlands that were previously non-jurisdictional. The fight to stop this regulation will not be easy, but I am committed to protecting the American people from this blatant executive water grab and will continue to fight this overreach at every opportunity.”

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Background:

From the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit: “A stay allows for a more deliberate determination whether this exercise of Executive power, enabled by Congress and explicated by the Supreme Court, is proper under the dictates of federal law.”

On March 25, 2014, the EPA and the Corps released a proposed rule that would assert Clean Water Act jurisdiction over nearly all areas with even the slightest of connections to water resources, including man-made conveyances.

On May 1, 2014, Congressman Gosar and 230 of his colleagues sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the EPA, and John M. McHugh, Secretary of the Army, urging them to withdraw the proposed rule. The full text of that letter can be found HERE.

On January 28, 2015, Congressman Gosar introduced H.R. 594, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act. This legislation has the support of 185 bipartisan cosponsors. Click HERE to read more about the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act.

On May 12, 2015, the House passed H.R. 1732, the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act, by a vote of 261-155. This critical legislation requires the EPA and Corps of Engineers to formally withdraw the agencies’ proposed rule that would redefine WOTUS and any subsequent final rule. Congressman Gosar joined the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Bill Shuster in introducing this bill. Click HERE to read more.

Congressman Gosar has also inserted funding riders into appropriations bills, blocked a democrat amendment that tried to strip one of his WOTUS riders and voted at least five different times for legislation that has passed the House to block WOTUS.  In July 2015, he berated EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and submitted revelatory evidence into the Congressional Record from senior Army Corps of Engineer employees which expressed serious legal and scientific deficiencies with the final draft of the WOTUS rule.

More than 200 organizations and local municipalities have publicly declared their opposition to the proposed WOTUS rule.

On numerous occasions, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy broke the law by lying to Congress in order to try and impose WOUTS by regulatory fiat. On September 11, 2015, Congressman Gosar introduced H.RES.417 to initiate impeachment proceedings against Administrator McCarthy for these crimes. You can learn more about his efforts to remove Administrator McCarthy from office by clicking HERE.

Gary Kiehne Speaks at Americans for Prosperity Event in Rural Arizona

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GARY KIEHNE SPEAKS AT AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY “HELP STOP THE CLEAN POWER PLAN” RALLY IN JOSEPH CITY
 
October 3, 2015…Today, Gary Kiehne, the Republican and conservative, grassroots candidate for Congress in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, is a featured speaker at the Americans for Prosperity “Help Stop the Clean Power Plan” Rally in Joseph City, AZ.

Kiehne, a cattleman and successful small business owner, released the following comments in advance of the AFP rally:

“Here in rural Arizona and across this state and nation, we continue to suffer as a result of the continuous overreach from the EPA.  The latest regulations released in the Clean Power Plan in August take things one step further by increasing the emissions regulations.  These expectations serve up three punches in a row to our state.  First, killing hundreds of jobs across Arizona’s rural 1st Congressional District, home to several coal fired plants.  Second, taking a sledgehammer to the natural resource that produces nearly 40% of our electricity in the state.  And third, these new regulations are going to hit Arizonans where it hurts the most, in our wallets.

With no plans at the ready to replace the jobs we’ll lose, the electricity we’ll miss and increase economic growth to help our citizens afford higher energy costs, we’ve got to stand up and fight back against this overreaching EPA.  As a small business owner in oil and gas exploration and production, ranching and the hotel industry, I know how hard it is to comply with the messy red tape regulations stemming from the federal government, and I’ve had enough.  That’s why I’m running for Congress, to rein in the continued overreach coming out of Washington, DC and return decision making to Arizonans and our local communities.”

To keep up with Kiehne for Congress, please follow us on
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Scott Smith Flips and Withers over Kyoto Protocol

The race for Arizona governor took to the national airwaves on Hugh Hewitt’s show today as the conservative talk show host took the former Mayor of Mesa to task over his record on the Kyoto Protocol.

The conversation originated as Hugh Hewitt discussed his op-ed in the Washington Examiner in which he made the case for electing Doug Ducey as Arizona’s next governor – “Unlike his ice cream, Doug Ducey won’t melt in Arizona’s political heat

Hugh lambasted Ducey’s main foe Scott Smith and Governor Jan Brewer as big government Republicans (Brewer endorsed Smith last week for his support of expanding Obamacare in Arizona.) In addition to Obamacare expansion, Hugh mentioned Smith’s support for Common Core and the Kyoto Protocol. Scott Smith Twitter trolls then began attacking Hewitt online which prompted more discussion about Smith’s record.

Scott Smith then tweeted to Hewitt to let him on the show so he (Hewitt) would learn something

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Hugh cleared the phone lines and invited the mayor to call in to discuss his positions.

Scott Smith called in and Hewitt then proceeded to cross-examine him on why he supported the US Conference Mayors Climate Protection Agreement (Kyoto Protocol) as the 1,000 signatory.

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Smith then tried to argue why he signed off as the 1,000 mayor but wouldn’t mount a defense why he opposed provisions of the document.

Here’s the full audio of the call:

As the audio reveals, Scott Smith flipped and flopped over his support for the Agreement but then withered over his objections.

Hewitt pressed Smith if he even reviewed the the press release announcing his support of the agreement and why he didn’t demand a retraction, correction or clarification of his signature on Kyoto Protocol Agreement. Smith’s answer was he didn’t review it and didn’t want to cause waves.

Any listener who heard the exchange is left to believe that if Mayor Scott Smith was willing to sign off on the Kyoto Protocol without any protest, what kind of leadership could we expect from a Governor Smith when the EPA begins pressuring Arizona?

Call it a flip, flop or a wither. We don’t thing Scott Smith is up to the job of Governor.

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A follow-up: Negotiations appear to be taking place via Twitter for Smith to call in again to the Hugh Hewitt show on Tuesday. We’ll wait and see if that actually happens.

Martha McSally: Who does Ron Barber Really Stand With?

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TUCSON – Martha McSally, Congressional candidate for Arizona’s Second District, released the following statement today after the Obama Administration announced new energy regulations on states. The regulations are expected to increase energy prices on families and businesses while eliminating jobs across the country.

“At a time when both parties should be working together on bipartisan efforts to empower small businesses and get people back to work, President Obama appears to be pushing a hyper-partisan agenda to please his campaign donors over the needs of hardworking families. Plain and simple, this is a betrayal of middle class families who will be paying more in energy costs and will see many well-paying jobs disappear. What’s more, the poor and struggling who have the least ability to afford these higher costs will be hardest hit. I call on Congressman Barber to join bipartisan opposition to these harmful regulations and stand up for families of the Second District against his party’s job-destroying agenda.”

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced draft rules that would require 30% reductions in CO2 emissions across the country over the next 15 years. Under the proposed rules, Arizona would be forced to cut emissions by 52%, the second-highest mandate for any state in the country.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated last week the new regulations would cost the U.S. economy $50 billion and eliminate 224,000 jobs. The EPA also has admitted the new regulations will increase energy costs for American consumers.

EPA overreach at Navajo Generating Station yields bad energy policy for Arizona

By Douglas Little, Phoenix Conservative Examiner

In one of the most egregious abuses of it regulatory power, the EPA is forcing the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) located near Page, AZ to make unnecessary and costly modifications to the generation facilities that would have no measurable effect on emissions in the region.

Using the Clean Air Act as its regulatory authority, the EPA claims that emissions from NGS are contributing to haze in the Grand Canyon area and in February of this year, proposed a regional haze restriction that would require NGS expenditures of $1.1 billion on additional emission reduction controls. This claim also ignores the fact that prevailing winds in the region result in plant emissions being blown away from the Grand Canyon, not towards it.

At the same time the EPA issued their ruling, a U.S. Department of Energy study concluded there would be no visibility improvement at the Grand Canyon after the controls were added. Why would the EPA pursue such a expensive and punitive rule when it would have no perceptible effect on haze at the Grand Canyon?

Opponents of the EPA action are reporting that the EPA doesn’t care about haze at all. They say what the EPA really wants is to provide a precedent for shutting down coal-fired electric generating plants. The Obama administration has a stated objective to reduce carbon emissions and last year attempted to implement a “cap and trade” approach to regulating fossil fuels. Republicans in the US Congress voted down the enabling legislation, with some calling it a “war on coal”.

Why is the EPA going after NGS and why is NGS so critical to Arizona?

The Navajo Generating Station was constructed at a cost of $650 million beginning in 1970 and ending in 1976 when the last of the three generating units was completed. The project was sited in its current location based on readily available coal fuel, a reliable source of water for cooling and the proximity of the city of Page which could provide for many of the project’s infrastructure needs, including an available skilled labor pool. The plant is located approximately 100 miles northeast of the Grand Canyon.

The primary purpose of the NGS was to provide power to support the Central Arizona Project (CAP) which is responsible for supplying Arizona’s share of Colorado River water to central and southern Arizona. To get water from the far northwest corner of Arizona to the rest of the state, CAP built a network of pumps, pipelines and and surface canals over 336 miles in length to transport Arizona’s annual allocation of 1.5 million acre-feet of water to Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties. The pumps must raise the water over 3000 feet to allow it to flow into central Arizona. The majority of the power generated by NGS powers the CAP pumps.

NGS has a long history of taking a proactive approach to emissions reduction. In 1999, NGS completed a $420 million retrofit that reduced sulfur dioxide emissions from the plant by 90%. In additional overhauls conducted between 2003 and 2005, electrostatic precipitators were overhauled for reliability and performance gains. In 2007, the Salt River Project, the plant operator, conducted studies on how to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions to reduce haze in the region and voluntarily installed emission reduction equipment on each of their three plants between 2009 and 2011.

Apparently, the best efforts of NGS were not good enough. The EPA rule proposed in February is one of the most stringent regional haze rules in the entire nation. It imposes a standard that is more rigorous that the standards for a brand new coal plant. At the 1600 megawatt Prairie State Energy Campus which first came online in 2012, the permitted level of NO emissions are 0.07 parts per million (ppm) while the standard for NGS, a 37 year old plant, is 0.055 ppm.

In an attempt to find a reasonable middle ground, a working group consisting of the EPA, U.S. Department of the Interior, the Salt River Project, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Gila River Indian Community, the Navajo Nation and the Western Resource Advocates began negotiations to find a “Reasonable Progress Alternative” to the BART rule issued by the EPA in February.

These negotiations were closed-door sessions and while the working group included non-stakeholder environmental activists like the Environmental Defense Fund, they did not solicit or accept input from important stakeholders like the Arizona Corporation Commission, which is the primary regulatory body for energy and water resources in the state. Arizona’s Attorney General was also excluded from legal review and comment on the proposed agreement.

Under the proposed settlement, visibility standards and haze causing nitrogen oxide standards are not even addressed. However, in one section of the proposed agreement, the Department of the Interior makes commitments to reduce or offset carbon dioxide emissions by 3% per year “in furtherance of the President’s 2013 Climate Action Plan”. It further states that “This commitment is intended to accomplish two aims: reduce carbon dioxide emissions and demonstrate the workability of a credit-based system to achieve carbon dioxide emission reductions” (emphasis added).

This action by the Department of the Interior and the EPA essentially unilaterally implements “cap and trade” at NGS even though they do not have Congressional authority to do so.

The working group proposal also calls for the early shutdown of one generation unit in 2020 or the equivalent reduction of output equal to the closure of one unit from 2020 to 2030. There is no consideration in the plan for any increased cost in replacement power or an increase in water rates due to those increased power costs.

While clearly not a great deal for SRP, the Navajo and CAP, why are they supporting it? The original rule issued by the EPA would have imposed the most stringent nitrogen oxide standards in the country and would require retrofits to the generating plants at a cost of over a billion dollars. Had that rule been implemented, the economic viability of the entire plant was in jeopardy. The Arizona stakeholders felt that the EPA was holding the plant hostage under its rule-making authority. They felt that the working group agreement was probably the best deal they could get under the circumstances, enabling them to keep the plant going at least until 2035.

Unfortunately, the working group agreement has some fairly large holes in it. Many of the commitments made by the Department of the Interior may require Congressional action to implement. In the current belt-tightening by the federal government, Congress may not be willing to fund the $100 million in commitments made by the Department of the Interior. Furthermore, the agreement anticipates a dramatic increase in water rates, but make no provision for it. In addition, it does not address the loss of jobs, economic benefit and tribal revenues that will result from the terms of the agreement.

A critical reading of the proposed working group agreement seems to indicate that these regulations are not about reducing regional haze. There is no meaningful reduction of nitrogen oxide in the proposed agreement. Instead, there is a focus on carbon dioxide emission reduction. Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless gas and has no impact on visible haze.

In addition, the agreement is an apparent attempt to unilaterally implement a “cap and trade” system for regulating carbon emissions for which the Department of the Interior and the EPA have no statutory or regulatory authority.

Finally, it appears to be a blatant EPA attack on coal-fired generating plants with the full support and encouragement of environmental activists.

Is the EPA doing all of this for a reduction in haze that the federal government’s own study said would be imperceptible to the human eye? More likely, the haze standard simply gives the EPA the opening they need to accomplish their real objectives of shutting another coal plant and promoting Obama’s energy agenda.

EPA overreach? Good energy policy? The right choice for Arizona? You decide.

The public comment period on the proposed agreement will close on October 4th, 2013.

You can go here to comment: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-R09-OAR-2013-0009-0111

Bipartisan AZ Lawmakers Submit Letter to EPA Regarding Proposed Rule for Navajo Generating Station

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Submit Comments to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regarding Proposed Rule for Navajo Generating Station
Letter Urges EPA to Convene Public Hearings Throughout Arizona Given Dramatic Adverse Impacts of the Proposed Rule

 

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX (May 28, 2013) – Today, a bipartisan majority of the Arizona House of Representatives will file the attached letter with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld. The document urges the agency to conduct broad public hearings throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area and rural areas during the EPA’s public comment period for its proposed regional haze rule for the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) in Page, Ariz..

21 Republicans and Sixteen Democrat Members of the Arizona House of Representatives signed the letter signaling a strong, bi-partisan opposition to the proposed rule. The sweeping nature of the EPA’s proposed rule, the legislators argue, would have significant adverse impacts on Arizona families, tribes, businesses, agricultural interests and other key industries in the state through increased energy and water rates. There also is enormous risk to the Arizona’s economy as thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in lost economic activity will impact the state every year. Public hearings are needed throughout the entire state to ensure a transparent process that reflects broad stakeholder engagement and input on the rule.

“The Navajo Generating Station provides affordable energy and water to Arizona. It’s disconcerting that its operation might be undermined—or worse, shut down altogether,” said House Speaker Andy Tobin. “If implemented, EPA’s rule would drive up water rates, jeopardize jobs, and severely damage Arizona’s economy.”

The EPA’s proposed rule rejects the detailed Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) proposal submitted by NGS’s operator, Salt River Project, and would instead impose the installation of additional technology controls that could cost as much as $1.1 billion. Incredibly, the rule would yield no perceptible visibility improvement at the Grand Canyon, according to the government’s own study. The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) concluded “the body of research to date…is inconclusive as to whether [installing additional controls] would lead to any perceptible improvement in visibility.”

NGS provides energy to the Central Arizona Project (CAP), which makes renewable, affordable water available to 80 percent of Arizona’s residents—45 percent in Phoenix alone. If NGS shuts down, or has to install these costly controls, it would result in a potential doubling or tripling of water rates throughout the state. Likewise, 3,400 skilled jobs and an estimated $20 billion in economic activity over the next three decades could be in jeopardy if NGS is forced to shut down due to the rule.

“The EPA must convene multiple public hearings in geographically diverse areas of the state so the agency can begin to understand firsthand how its proposed rule will harm the livelihood of Arizona families, businesses, and communities,” said House Minority Leader Chad Campbell. “All of us have a stake in this debate, and my colleagues from both sides of the aisle urge EPA to expand its study of the issue and ensure Arizonans’ voices are heard.”

The full letter is attached.  Signers of the letter include: 

Republicans
Andy Tobin, Speaker of the House
David Gowan, Majority Leader
Rick Gray, Majority Whip
J.D. Mesnard, Speaker Pro Tempore
Brenda Barton, LD 6
Paul Boyer, LD 20
Heather Carter, LD 15
Doug Coleman, LD 16
Jeff Dial, LD 18
Karen Fann, LD 1
Doris Goodale, LD 5
Debbie Lesko, LD 21
David Livingston, LD 22
Kate Brophy McGee, LD 28
Justin Pierce, LD 25
Ethan Orr, LD 9
T.J. Shope, LD 8
Steve Smith, LD 11
Bob Robson, LD 18
Bob Thorpe, LD 6
Kelly Townsend, LD 16

Democrats
Chad Campbell, Minority Leader
Bruce Wheeler, Minority Whip
Albert “Ahbihay” Hale, LD 7
Lela Alston, LD 24
Mark Cardenas, LD 19
Andrea Dalessandro, LD 2
Juan Carlos Escamilla, LD 4
Rosanna Gabaldon, LD 2
Lydia Hernandez, LD 29
Jonathan Larkin, LD 30
Stefanie Mach, LD 10
Juan Mendez, LD 26
Martin Quezada, LD 29
Andrew Sherwood, LD 26
Victoria Steele, LD 9
Macario Saldate, IV, LD 3

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Congressman Flake Introduces the CLEER Act

Bill Will Ease EPA Regulatory Burden for States With Natural Dust Occurrences

Washington, D.C. – Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today introduced H.R. 5381, the Commonsense Legislative Exceptional Events Reform (CLEER) Act.

In order for states to exclude specific exceedances of air quality standards often caused by naturally-occurring events such as dust storms, they must submit costly and complicated demonstration projects to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its review. However, the EPA is under no pressure to review this paperwork in a timely manner. Additionally, the current regulations governing exceptional events demonstrations leave the decision entirely at the discretion of the EPA, and the decisions are not appealable.

The CLEER Act remedies these costly and burdensome exceptional events regulations with commonsense reforms in part by requiring the EPA to review states’ exceptional events documentation within 90 days of submission; afford states deference on what should be excluded; carry out a rulemaking in concert with the states on what exceptional events demonstrations must include; and making their decisions on exceptional events demonstrations appealable.

“States shouldn’t face bureaucratic penalties from the EPA for naturally occurring events, like dust storms,” said Flake.

The CLEER Act is supported by a wide variety of air quality stakeholders in Arizona and on the national level. A complete list of the bill’s supporters as well as additional background and information about the CLEER Act are attached.

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Rep. Flake Applauds Withdrawal of EPA’s Ozone Standards Draft

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 2, 2011
CONTACT: Genevieve Frye Rozansky

Encourages Administration to Apply the Same Flexibility to Their Review of the Dust Standard

Mesa, Arizona – Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today applauded the Administration’s directive to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

“I hope EPA displays the same consideration of the economic impact when it comes to regulations dealing with dust, such as PM-10, especially when their own scientists say tightening the standard isn’t necessary,” said Flake.

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