Calling it “a critical, critical asset,” Congresswoman Martha McSally said she would fight to protect the Apache Generating Station from overreaching EPA regulations during a tour of the plant Thursday.

“This is a critical, critical asset to the area and we have to be sure we do everything we can to protect it,” McSally said.

McSally, the freshman Republican for Arizona’s Congressional District 2, said the U.S. Environmental Protection agency’s rules on regional haze and carbon emissions “are clearly overreach.”

McSally, who was in her 53rd day in office on Thursday when she took the tour, asked several times about the impact of proposed EPA regulations not only on all AzGT operations but on the people at the end of the line who use the power generated at Apache.

“What is the rate impact of all this? Is there eventually the potential for rolling brownouts? This is obviously going to have huge impacts on your members if something isn’t changed,” McSally said.

She also keyed in on how the current regulatory climate makes it extremely difficult to plan for financial and other resources.

“Uncertainty doesn’t help. You can plan and plan some more, and in the middle of all that planning things could change again.”

“That has to make things extremely difficult,” McSally said.

McSally was briefed on overall AzGT operations by CEO Patrick Ledger, who was then joined by Michelle Freeark, director of safety and environmental services, and CFO Pete Scott, to provide environmental, operation and financial summaries. The environmental briefing included the regional haze issue and the proposed carbon rule impacts. Mike Nelson, director of power production, then provided a tour during which he explained plant operations.

As the tour ended McSally said she was impressed, and glad she had the opportunity to visit.

“This is an amazing facility, it’s extremely well run, it’s clean, it’s efficient, and it’s obvious the troops are motivated. We’re going to work hand-in-hand with everyone involved to make sure we do what’s necessary to keep this plant in operation,” McSally said.