Environment

Committed to Our Communities

Chad Kew, left, and Cody McWilliams monitor new emissions technology at Apache Station. We continue to refine solutions to comply with environmental regulations, including our ongoing plan to reduce mercury emissions while keeping costs as low as possible. This equipment gathers data that was critical to renewing our operating permit.

Arizona G&T Cooperatives continue to diversify our energy portfolio. We already generate power from natural gas, coal and solar, and we manage distributing hydropower to our Members from Hoover Dam. We’re exploring transmitting wind energy from eastern New Mexico to Apache Station, and analyzing battery technology to make intermittent solar and wind generation more cost-effective and reliable.

  • The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality renewed AzGT’s operating permit for Apache Station in 2018. The five-year permit specifies how we will comply with state and federal regulatory emissions, monitoring, technology and reporting standards. Although the permitting process was open to public comment, no opposition was filed to the renewed application.
  • We remain committed to balancing environmental stewardship with our mission to provide reliable, affordable electricity to our Member/owners. We have spent millions of dollars to comply with environmental regulations.
  • Our structure explains why we maintain such a strong commitment to the environment. While most utilities are owned by outside investors, Arizona G&T Cooperatives are different. Consumers own our Member cooperatives, and our Member electric distribution co-ops own and control us. Our employees also live in the communities that we serve. We agree that the environment needs to be protected, because we live here too.
  • One sign of our commitment to the environment can be seen at our Apache Station Wildlife Viewing Area, which the public is invited to enjoy.

Environmental Compliance Never Ends

Federal regulatory agencies in Washington, D.C., routinely ask for comments on new regulations of changes to regulations that impact the electric industry. This is an opportune time to recommend changes that provide flexibility or compliance alternatives. In 2018, we submitted 65 separate sets of comments comprising hundreds of pages of material including proposed rule changes to:

  • Clean Water Act
  • Endangered Species Act
  • Clean Air Act  and
  • National Environmental Policy Act.

What is a “Comment”?

Agencies receive their authority to provide and issue rules under their jurisdiction from laws passed by Congress. Steps involved in rulemaking:

  1. The agency drafts a proposed new rule or changes to an existing rule. Other federal regulatory agencies review it.
  2. The Federal Register publishes the proposed rule or changes to an existing rule, giving the public anywhere from 30 to 90 days to comment. We begin to evaluate the proposed action and decide if technical studies or tests are necessary to incorporate into written comments. Occasionally, the agency holds public hearings on the proposed action.
  3. Typically, thousands of comments are submitted from interested stakeholders, including AEPCO, to the docket for the agency’s consideration.
  4. After due consideration, the agency may incorporate or reject positions taken by stakeholders in submitted comments. The agency then publishes the final rule in the Federal Register and the rule goes into effect.
  5. We develop a compliance timeline, develop an implementation plan, and document and monitor compliance. The final rule can be challenged in court.