Arizona Utility Regulators Overturn Committee Decision, Approve Black Mountain Gas Expansion Project

(P&GJ) — The Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted 4-1 to overturn the decision of the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee (Committee) regarding Unisource Electric’s (UNSE) gas expansion project in Mohave County.

This ruling permits the construction of new gas power plants in Arizona without the explicit review of environmental impacts and customer costs.

The decision grants UNSE a legal exception, known as a disclaimer of jurisdiction, for their Black Mountain Generating Station (BMGS) 200 MW expansion project. This move comes despite decades of legal precedent mandating review and approval by the Committee for new natural gas generators with an aggregate capacity exceeding 100 MW.

Chanele Reyes, representing the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, expressed disappointment, stating that the Committee had meticulously examined compelling evidence over two days, including testimony from a single engineer, highlighting the necessity of the expansion project's review.

“Today's appalling decision by the Commission to reverse the Committee's ruling gives UNSE a carte blanche to evade almost all environmental scrutiny and consumer protections. This leaves Arizonans with few protections when a utility proposes huge new investments and sets a dangerous precedent,” said Justin Brant, SWEEP’s utility program director.

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