Letter to the Editor: TEP Should Invest in Jobs, Renewable Energy Not Coal

TEP Should Invest in Job, Renewable Energy Not Coal

Last month, the AZ Daily Star reported that a coalition of clean energy businesses and advocates, faith organizations, environmental groups and more called on our utility, Tucson Electric Power, to divest from the out-of-state San Juan Generating Station. The coalition got it right!

By continuing to burn coal at the San Juan Generating Station, TEP is endangering both the health of the surrounding community and the budgets of ratepayers here in Arizona who will be on the hook for the rising costs of burning coal. Just last month, PNM, one of the other owners of the plant, announced that that the total bill for their plan to increase reliance on dirty coal and other expensive fuels had jumped by over $1 billion, with those costs likely being passed onto local ratepayers.  TEP ratepayers face a similar future if our utility continues to dump our money into the out-of-state San Juan Generating Station.

Rather than continue to pour money into an aging, expensive, out-of-state coal-fired power plant, TEP should take this opportunity to commit to jobs and the people's health that benefit our community here in Arizona by investing in clean, safe, renewable energy.

According to recent studies, our state has the potential to produce more than 320 times our energy needs from solar power and we still rank second in the nation with nearly 9,000 jobs in the solar industry.

A transition away from coal at the San Juan Generating Station and to local clean energy is a win-win for our community. By doubling down on clean energy here in Arizona, we will protect ratepayers from expensive coal rate hikes, create new jobs and opportunities, and protect our region's air and water and human population from dangerous coal pollution. It's time for TEP to exit the San Juan Generating Station and support affordable, homegrown, clean, safe energy here in Arizona.

—Barbara H. Warren. MD. MPH

Director, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Arizona Chapter

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