An Arizona public utilities official on Tuesday dared Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to follow through with the city's economic boycott of Arizona by giving up the 25 percent of L.A's power he says the city gets from the desert state.
In a letter obtained by the Weekly, Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce writes to Villaraigosa to express that he was "dismayed" by the boycott over the state's controversial immigration law and noted that "twenty-five percent of the electricity consumed in Los Angeles is generated by power plants in Arizona." (We sort of told you so on that one).
Then pierce got fierce:
"If an economic boycott is truly what you desire, I will be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements so Los Angeles no longer receives any power from Arizona-based generation. I am confident that Arizona's utilities would be happy to take those electrons off your hands. If, however, you find that the City Council lacks the strength of its convictions to turn off the lights in Los Angeles and boycott Arizona power, please reconsider the wisdom of attempting to harm Arizona's economy."
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Actually, the city's boycott deftly sidestepped the issue of L.A.'s dependence on Arizona energy. It bans city travel to the state, prohibits new contracts with Arizona-based businesses, and requires a review of existing contracts with firms in the state.
However, L.A.'s energy ties to Arizona involve plants where the city has partial ownership and transmission lines that fall under complex, multi-jurisdictional agreements. What's more, at least one of the generating plants, we've been told, is on sovereign, Native American land.
So it seems like both sides here are all bark.