The Arizona Corporation Commission voted June 12 that a disputed 200-megawatt (MW) power plant expansion can skip a key environmental review process.

Several environmental groups opposed the decision. The Sierra Club issued a statement saying the decision would lead to more gas-fired generation in the state without needed oversight.

At issue is an expansion project for UNS Electric’s Black Mountain Generating Station near Mohave, Arizona. Plant owners plan to put in four 50-MW gas-fired turbines. An Arizona law requires an environmental compatibility review for turbine additions of 100 MW or more.

UNS Electric successfully argued to the Arizona Corporation Commission that the project did not fall under the law because each of the additional turbines will generate less than 100 MW. The commission stated the project still had several other environmental permits to obtain before going forward.