Editor:

Residents of a state are expected to live up or down to a state's image or reputation. South Carolinians had a saying: "Thank God for Mississippi." in relation to socioeconomic rankings. New Mexico could claim the same predicament. These states are in a race to avoid being at the bottom with no state standing still. New Mexico (excluding the illegal immigrants) is the only Sunbelt state that is losing population.

New Mexico lacks economic diversity and is highly dependent on the first level (little or no processing of) extractive industry materials. One exception was the establishment of the Four Corners Power Plant, which, if it hadn't been for the air pollution restrictions for Las Angeles, would have been built in that area with the coal transported there by railroad.

Now California has passed a law for its utility companies to divest themselves and stop purchasing electricity from coal fired power plants. This big market has been lost.

Other states, such as Colorado have been converting the their coal fired power plants to dual systems which are expected to rely more and more on natural gas which is experiencing a glut with market low prices. (The mere costs for oil extracted by fracking have been reported as averaging eighty dollars a barrel thus a minimal lowering of gasoline prices at the pump is anticipated due to "energy independence.")

The city of Farmington has a first-step chance to improve its image for economic diversity by building a natural gas fired power plant. (The area has a major disadvantage in lack of infrastructure: interstate highways, railroad, international airport). Water is the area's major selling point for more diversity, especially during the current drought in the Southwest. In World War II Germany's war machine was based primarily on coal. Now is the time to set up some kind of development entity (encompassing the Four Corners?) to unlock the energy in that element with a goal of providing an alternative future source for investing and related jobs.

 

Ken Rustad

Farmington