Phillips: just say ‘no’ to Proposition 127

I received my ballot info guide today and read about Proposition 127, the “Clean Air Mandate.”

Guy Phillips

I urge everyone to read it and see for yourself what a bad idea this would be. Starting out with making a constitutional amendment, this mandate, if passed, will change the Arizona Constitution.

This is no small matter. Changes to the Constitution need to be thoroughly vetted by all means as the consequences of a bad or unforeseen result could be disastrous yet unchangeable. This mandate is not just a mandate on APS, it is a mandate on all public service corporations that deliver energy to Arizonans.

It is not just a mandate on Maricopa County, but all of Arizona, including the smaller utilities that supply energy from Yuma to Flagstaff, Winslow to Sierra Vista. The measure seeks to enshrine very specific energy mandates dealing with how utilities generate power for their customers.

Article 3 of the brochure defines “Conventional Energy Source” as any non-renewable source, which included uranium, obviously the lifeblood of the Palo Verde Nuclear plant in the West Valley.

Because solar only generates energy when the sun is shining, utilities would be forced to maximize their solar generation during the day in order to meet the 50 percent mandate, leaving little room for energy from “base load” power plants like Palo Verde.

This analysis by the state of Arizona confirmed that Palo Verde will close in 2029 if Prop. 127 passes. Then utility rates in Maricopa County will skyrocket to unimaginable costs to consumers.

Pay attention to articles 7-9 in the brochure, which lays out the definition for how this mandate can be offset via carbon credits or “Renewable Energy Credit”.

Section D lays out the REC or carbon credits required each year by the affected utility.

Folks, this is basically a carbon credit scam perpetuated by a California billionaire who wrote and is financing Prop. 127 and will profit from utilities being forced to buy carbon credits from his companies.

And, where will our utilities get the billions to buy these credits? From you, the consumer, of course, in the form of higher, even double, utility rates. It won’t just be APS that will raise their rates to buy credits, it will be every utility, especially the smaller ones who can’t afford to buy clean energy infrastructure.

And again, it will be you the consumer who will pay.

The idea that this will help clean our air and environment by mandating renewable energy is laughable at best. For one, vehicle emissions, not energy plants, are responsible for over 90 percent of pollution that affects people with ailments such as asthma. Utilities are only 1 percent of the total emissions produced in Arizona.

The utilities know they cannot possibly comply within this short time period and will simply purchase the carbon credits, which is what California billionaire Tom Steyer is banking on.

It would not be just building new solar or wind plants, but it would require more back-up generating plants such as natural gas in case of failure. The redundancy alone to protect consumers from solar and wind plant failures would be in the billions.

Giants like the Central Arizona Project, the highest utility user in the state, cannot afford disruption of the water supply and they alone would require millions in redundancy measures. Tom Steyer knows this and that’s exactly why he has spent over $2 million in our state to get it on the ballot. Steyer got California to implement a similar renewable energy standard a number of years ago and their utility rates are 3 times the national average as a result. We should not be importing California’s failed energy policy into our state.

Arizona is already working towards a clean, renewable energy policy of which the Corporation Commission can attest.

Arizonans have always done things our way. Let’s not let a California billionaire sink the Palo Verde Plant and double or even triple our rates for his personal benefit.

Vote No! On Prop. 127 and let’s go into the renewable future with our own cost effective measures at our own cost effective pace.

Editor's Note: Mr. Phillips is a member of Scottsdale City Council.

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