Arizona utilities seek state, not federal, regulation of ash


Arizona lawmakers are advancing legislation backed by utilities to have state regulators, not their federal counterparts, regulate disposal of toxic ash produced by coal-fired power plants.

The bill would shift the regulatory duty from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the Arizona Republic reported.

A bill narrowly approved by the state House last month was endorsed Wednesday by a Senate committee, with one Democrat joining Republicans for the bill as other Democrats voted against it. If the bill remains unchanged, passage by the full Senate would send it to Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.

Supporters of the bill, including the Department of Environmental Quality itself, say the agency has the expertise and is familiar with the utilities involved, which include Arizona Public Service Co., Tucson Electric Power Co. and the Salt River Project.

Opponents have questioned whether the DEQ should take on the added responsibility, suggesting it might weaken enforcement. They cited close ties between the utilities and the DEQ and problems that the agency has had in monitoring water quality.

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The Buffalo News, 12-03-22