Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee
|What is the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee?|
|In 1971, the Arizona Legislature required that the Commission establish a power plant and line siting committee. The Committee provides a single, independent forum to evaluate applications to build power plants (of 100 megawatts or more) or transmission projects (of 115,000 volts or more) in the state. The Committee holds meetings and hearings that are open to the public.|
|The Committee was created after the Legislature found that existing law did "not provide adequate opportunity for individuals, groups interested in conservation and the protection of the environment, local governments, and other public bodies to participate in timely fashion the decision to locate a specific major facility at a specific site." (Historical Notes, Laws 1971, Ch. 67, §1)|
|Who is on the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee?|
|Arizona Revised Statute 40-360.01B dictates who is on the Committee. Its members are:|
State attorney general or the attorney general's designee. (Chairman of Committee)
Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources or the director's designee.
Director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality or the director's designee.
Director of the energy office of the Arizona Department of Commerce or the director's designee.
Chairman of the Arizona Corporation Commission or the chairman's designee.
Six members appointed by the Arizona Corporation Commission to serve for a term of two years. Three of the members shall represent the public, one member shall represent incorporated cities and towns, one member shall represent counties and one member shall be actively engaged in agriculture
|Who presides over the Arizona Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee?|
|The attorney general or his/her designee chairs the Committee. The Chairman directs the flow of the meeting and makes procedural decisions in accordance with Arizona law. However, each member of the Committee, including the Chairman, has a single vote.|
|How long does the Committee have to evaluate a project?|
|ARS § 40-360.04 sets forth specific time frames for Committee action. In general, the Committee has 180 days from the date the application is filed to come to a decision.|
|How does the Committee conduct business?|
|The procedures for the Committee's activities are set forth in law and administrative regulations. After an application to build a power plant or transmission line is filed with the Corporation Commission, copies are sent to all members of the Committee. The chairman of the Committee sets a hearing date and provides public notice of the hearing date and location. Any member of the public can attend the hearing. The hearing will include testimony and exhibits from the applicant, and testimony and exhibits from any groups or individuals who are granted party, or intervener, status. There is cross-examination of the witnesses by the parties. The Committee members also ask questions of the witnesses, and may ask for additional information. After all the information is before the Committee, the Committee members will discuss the matter and will take a vote on whether to grant or deny a "Certificate of Environmental Compatibility," which is a formal document that is necessary before the power plant or transmission line can be built. If granted, the Certificate is then forwarded to the Commission for review and action. If denied, the applicant may request that the Commission rehear the matter.|
|How can I find out about power plants or transmission projects affecting my community?|
|We find that local newspapers and radio stations are a great source of information about utility projects. They usually carry notices of public meetings and attend the proceedings. The Arizona Corporation Commission's website (www.azcc.gov) includes a link for information about Arizona Power Plant and Line Siting Committee meetings.|
|How can I view the documents pertaining to a specific power plant application?|
|As power plant cases move through the process, hundreds of pages of documents, testimony and technical data are filed in the Docket Control Centers at the Arizona Corporation Commission's Phoenix and Tucson offices. The Phoenix Docket Control Center is located at 1200 West Washington and the Tucson office is at 400 West Congress Street.|
|Can members of the public speak out about a particular project?|
|Yes. The Legislature envisioned the plant and line siting process as a public process that benefits from public input. Time permitting, the Chairman of the Committee will call the meeting to order and allow time for public comment. If there are many people who wish to speak, the Chairman may impose a time limit for each person making public comment.|
|How can I participate if I'm unable to attend the meetings of the Siting Committee?|
|You can express your views by sending a letter and 25 copies to the Docket Control Center. It will be distributed by mail to all registered parties or interveners. Be sure to include the docket number (case number) to ensure that it is properly catalogued and distributed. Send to:|
Docket Control Center
|What factors are considered when the Committee reviews an application?|
|Again, the statutes (ARS § 40-360.06) spell out the criteria for issuing a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility. These factors include:|
Existing plans of the state, local government and private entities for other developments at or in the vicinity of the proposed site.
Fish, wildlife and plant life and associated forms of life upon which they are dependent.
Noise emission levels and interference with communication signals.
The proposed availability of the site to the public for recreational purposes, consistent with safety considerations and regulations.
Existing scenic areas, historic sites and structures or archaeological sites at or in the vicinity of the proposed site.
The total environment of the area.
The technical practicability of achieving a proposed objective and the previous experience with equipment and methods available for achieving a proposed objective.
The estimated cost of the facilities and site as proposed by the applicant and the estimated cost of the facilities and site as recommended by the committee, recognizing that any significant increase in costs represents a potential increase in the cost of electric energy to the customers or the applicant.
Any additional factors which require consideration under applicable federal and state laws pertaining to any such site.
|Is a unanimous vote required?|
|No. The Committee needs only a majority decision of the total Committee to issue or deny a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility.|
|How does the Arizona Corporation Commission play a role in plant or line siting?|
|The Commission plays three important roles:|
|Can the Committee impose conditions on a power plant or transmission line approval?|
|Yes. The Committee has fairly broad discretion and can require that a plant or transmission line conform to certain conditions.|
|After the Committee approves a plant, can the Commission amend the approval?|
|Within the parameters of the law, the Commission can also amend an application to include conditions it deems necessary for a project to be in the broad public interest.|
|Editors & News Directors:|
|To find out more about the statutes governing the Committee, please go to www.azleg.state.az.us and enter 40-360 under the section marked Arizona Revised Statutes.|
|The Rules of Practice and Procedure Before the Power Plant and Transmission Line Siting Committee can be found in R14-3-201 through 219 in the Arizona Administrative Code. To view the Rules, click here: RULE 14-3|