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Supervisor Johnson Testifies During Federal Hearing on EPA & IRS

Mesa, AZ – Supervisor Buster Johnson took to the podium during the recent Congressional Field Hearing on the overreach of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Mesa, Arizona. During Supervisor Johnson’s allotted time, he gave examples of overreach with the EPA and various Mohave County issues ranges from the closure of the Mohave County Generating Station to the money it cost tax payers for the overreach of the waste tire program. “The EPA has a job to do and we all support a clean environment but working with business and being a partner for the betterment of all should be their goal,” Supervisor Johnson stated during testimony.

The hearing was hosted by Arizona U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar and joined by Arizona Congressmen Matt Salmon, David Schweikert and Trent Franks. It was put together for the purpose of taking testimony from constituents in regard to any problems or concerns they have with the IRS or the EPA. Many witnesses testified at the hearing on the impact a closure of the Navajo Generating Station, located on the Navajo Indian Reservation, near Page, Arizona, would have on their livelihood. The EPA required the power plant to reduce its nitrogen oxide emissions by 2018, a project that would cost the owners of the Salt River Project plant up to $1.1 billion. An alternative plan was proposed to the EPA by the owners to shut down one of the plant's generating units by 2020 and retrofit the other generating units to reduce emissions by 2030. The proposal would more than likely still shut down the plant by 2044. “What is happening with the Navajo Generating Station is similar to what happened to the Mohave Generating Station in the early 2000’s,” Johnson said.

The Mohave Generating Plant, once located in Laughlin, Nevada, supplied electricity to millions of customers in California, Nevada and Arizona and generated over $21 million in payroll to over 500 local workers. “Because of the overreach of the EPA, we not only lost the Mohave Generating Station but new industry that was poised to use their by-product to create jobs and pay taxes,” Johnson explained during his testimony. In June of 2000, the EPA required the plant to install over $1 billion worth of environmental corrections by 2006. Due to failing to meet the EPA’s deadline and failed negations with Native American Indian Tribes over the use of the water used to slurry coal 273 miles from a mine in northern Arizona, the plant eventually shut down.

During his testimony, Johnson also mentioned other examples in which the EPA directly cost tax payers money. In 1984 Marine Shale Processors, Inc. in Amelia, Louisiana, started business with the full approval and oversight of EPA and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality. In 1994, 10 years later, Mohave County legally and lawfully sent 1.26 tons of waste to Marine Shale Processors under Louisiana DEQ Quality A 1 Number 5414 and U.S.E.P.A. ID: LAD 98105776. “We paid for this disposal in accordance with all rules and regulations,” Johnson stated during his testimony. “In 1996 Marine Shale went out of business leaving behind unprocessed waste and debris. The EPA found our legal receipt from 1994 and demanded we, along with others, pay for the clean-up. Once again it caused our taxpayers to spend money on attorneys and settlement agreement,” Johnson continued.

During the hearing many elected officials from Arizona spoke about the overreach of both agencies, including Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission Bob Stump, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, State Senator Andy Biggs, and State Representatives Brenda Barton and Kelly Townsend. Attorney General Horne testified as to the harm of the EPA’s ‘sue and settle’ tactics as he is representing the State of Arizona in its lawsuit against the EPA to stop ‘sue and settle’. Twelve states filed the lawsuit in federal court against the EPA alleging that binding consent decrees between the EPA and environmental groups that have sued the agency over the years have led to new rules and regulations for states without allowing their attorneys general to defend their interests and those of its businesses and consumers. Horne also testified that the EPA has obstructed the discovery process in the matter and for that reason is advising Arizona not to disclose public documents on EPA’s ‘sue and settle’ cases.

To end his testimony, Supervisor Johnson asked, “How do we protect our citizens from an organization that is judge, jury and executioner with the full weight and power of the federal government behind them?”

 

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