‘We are human beings’: Randolph residents bus in to Phoenix to protest SRP expansion plans

By Joshua Bowling | Arizona Republic

A group of residents from a small, historically Black community some 60 miles southeast of Phoenix traveled by bus Tuesday morning to protest a major gas plant expansion. As state regulators prepared to vote on the project, the residents saw themselves as David, the shepherd, facing Goliath, the Philistine warrior.

And, like David, they won.

Randolph blossomed in the mid-1900s as Americans moved west, many Black Americans settling there and working in the surrounding cotton fields. But the community, with roads such as King Street and Malcom X Street named for civil rights leaders, has since been swallowed up by industrial development.

More on vote: Huge SRP gas plant expansion rejected by Arizona regulators

Residents from the small community arrived in Phoenix on a nondescript white charter bus. The passenger-side door swung open and a couple dozen residents filed out one by one to take a stand outside the building where regulators were gathered, scheduled to vote on a massive power plant expansion.

The residents lined up alongside environmental activists just outside the Arizona Corporation Commission building on Washington Street to protest Salt River Project’s proposal to more than double its Coolidge Generating Station, which uses natural gas.

SRP officials have said the expansion is needed to meet intense demand for power in the Phoenix area.

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