“We are looking ahead, as is one of the first mandates given us as chiefs, to make sure and to make every decision that we make relate to the welfare and well-being of the seventh generation to come.” – Onondaga Chief Oren Lyons
Climate change is real and it’s progressing faster than scientists first predicted. We aren’t talking about some distant dilemma. The devastating impacts are already being felt around the world. In Tucson, we are experiencing record temperatures – every year hotter than the last. There is no more time to waste. We need to get carbon dioxide below 350 ppm immediately.
Sustainable Tucson is greatly concerned about TEP’s unambitious goal of transitioning to 30% clean energy by 2030. TEP is proposing modernizing the Sundt Generating Station by replacing two 1950’s era steam units with ten natural gas-fired combustion engines. These RICE units would create significant greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, the project expects to cause an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter (fine particles PM2.5 and coarse particles PM10) and volatile organic compounds.
Renewable energy, supplemented by energy storage systems, is a better option for many reasons. But TEP has refused to consider it – even though the Arizona Corporation Commission strongly urged TEP to turn in this direction.
Our advocacy team and other community members have been actively fighting the permit process for installation of the RICE units. Duane Ediger took a week off of work to study the TEP’s permit to see if it met the Pima County code. With the help of the Sierra Club, Duane uncovered some inconsistencies that he shared with the community so we could submit relevant comments to the Pima Department of Environmental Quality.
While awaiting a response, Duane worked with Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, Sustainable Tucson, and Arizona Interfaith Power and Light to draft a public letter to David G. Hutchens, President of Tucson Electric Power Company.