I want to thank everyone who took a stand against TEP’s proposed RICE gas-fired generators. We are awaiting responses from the Pima Department of Environmental Quality regarding our comments. I’m afraid this is just the beginning….
Here is my e-mail to Mayor Rothschild and the Tucson City Council members detailing our efforts and asking for them to join the good fight. I hope this inspires you to write a letter to your council member (maybe not so long…lol)
Find your City Council Member here.
Find which ward you are in here.
Dear City Council Member_____,
The city council committed to support the Paris Climate Agreement and take steps to combat climate change. But it will take a more proactive approach than adding some solar panels on city property or installing a few water recharge basins.
With some strong leadership, Tucson could become a model for sustainable practices. An oasis in the desert. A destination for ecological tourism. But none of this will be possible if we continue to accelerate climate change by allowing TEP to install 10 gas-fired RICE generators, encouraging our car culture by widening roads, and approving perpetual development (beyond what our annual rains can sustain.)
First things first. As you know, TEP is proposing modernizing the Sundt Generating Station by replacing two 1950’s era steam units with ten natural gas fired combustion engines. The purpose of the new generators is to ramp up more quickly and to balance the variability associated with solar and wind energy generation. TEP claims that these units are part of a larger goal for 30% renewable energy by 2030. But gas fired engines should not be equated with clean, renewable power from wind and solar. The RICE units are fossil-fuel based generating units that 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.
Pima Association of Governments Citizen Advisory Committee
Work is now beginning on the formation of the regional 2045 long-range transportation plan. Also known as the 2045 RMAP (Regional Mobility and Accessibility Plan), PAG is now looking for citizens who want to invest their time in the planning effort.
The work is aimed at identifying the long-term transportation needs of the region. Over time though, the Citizen Advisory Committee will work with the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) on framing the continuation of the RTA. It expires in 2026 and will need to go back to the voters for re-approval. What the RTA responsibilities are, and how much the sales tax is going to be are all a part of this reauthorization planning effort.
If you’d like to get involved in this planning work, you need to get your application in by 5pm on Thursday, April 19th. To find out more information on the process go to their website at www.pagregion.com, or www.rtamobility.com. You can also call Paki Rico for more information at 495.1450.
Protesting TEP’s petition to install gas-fired engines
50 people from the neighborhood showed up to protest the gas-fired engines being installed at Tucson’s Sundt Generating Station. The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality’s (PDEQ) held a public hearing on TEP’s plan to replace two 1950s era steam units with ten natural gas-fired combustion engines. Several members of our community spoke about how carbon dioxide from the engines would speed up climate change and how that would devastate our city.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, TEP’s proposed engines are fossil-fuel based generating units that would create significant greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Pima Department of Environmental Quality, the project expects to cause an increase in emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds.
But those comments could have no impact. We were limited to commenting on how TEP’s permit meets the criteria for issuance prescribed in the Arizona Revised Statutes, Section § 49-481 of the Pima County Code. All those important comments about climate change were disregarded because CO2 isn’t included in Pima’s code. (I know! I couldn’t believe it either!) EPA administer Scott Pruitt is working on repealing the Clean Power Plan. (Sign a letter opposing it here.)
A few of us from Sustainable Tucson’s Environmental advocacy group and the Sierra Club spent hours combing through Pima’s code — trying to find some inconsistencies or anything we can use stop the PDEQ from issuing a permit for the RICE engines.