Babeu will Protect Coal and Jobs
CASA GRANDE – As Oregon becomes the first state in the nation to eliminate energy derived from coal-powered plants, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said he will fight any effort to bring that policy to Arizona.
Oregon’s move to end use of coal in energy production will eventually mean higher electric costs for consumers, said Babeu, the leading Republican candidate for Congressional District 1.
Closing coal mines means a direct loss of thousands of jobs in Navajo and Apache County. Once these unemployed workers leave the area for work, higher property taxes are needed to make up for the loss of billions in positive economic impact from coal. If that’s not enough, imagine 40-50 percent increase in your electric bill?”Babeu said.
Four coal-fired power plants sit in CD1 and provide electricity to hundreds of thousands of Arizona residents. In addition, the Navajo Generating Station and Black Mesa Coal Mine supply hundreds of jobs on the Navajo Nation. NGS is the source of power for the Central Arizona Project canal, which brings 1.5 million acre-feet of water from the Colorado River to Phoenix and Tucson regions. That is enough water to support 12 million Arizonans.
Coal is an integral part of our water, energy supply and our economy,” Babeu said. “Closing those plants would be devastating to residents and businesses and require crippling rate increases.”
Babeu said his likely opponent in the general election, Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Tom O’Halleran has been on both sides of this issue, saying he’s against coal while speaking to environmentalists, yet says he supports coal when speaking to local residents.
Mr. O’Halleran should tell the voters whether he stands with bureaucrats in Washington DC or the people of CD1,” Babeu said. “This is the No. 1 issue for the residents here and Mr. O’Halleran’s political double talk must end.”
Babeu is a veteran of the Iraq War and spent 20 years in the Army National Guard, rising to the rank of major. In addition, Babeu commanded 700 troops on the Arizona-Mexico border as part of Operation Jump Start, which helped reduce illegal immigration and drug smuggling by 94 percent in the Yuma Sector. He was first elected Pinal County Sheriff in 2008 and won reelection in 2012.