4CED receives funding to help with economic diversification amid uncertainties with coal

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Coal is delivered from the San Juan Mine to the San Juan Generating Station through a coal supply contract that ends on June 30, 2022.

AZTEC — Four Corners Economic Development has received grant funding for economic diversification efforts. The grant is part of a funding package to assist communities that rely on coal as a base economic industry.

According to a press release, 4CED received $120,000 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration as part of a $988,400 for communities that have been negatively impacted by the decline in coal-fired electrical generation.

The grant 4CED received will be administered by the Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments and will be distributed over three years, according to the press release.

“I am particularly proud that NWNM Council of Governments chose 4CED as the recipient of the economic development grant,” said 4CED CEO Arvin Trujillo in the press release. “The grant funds will further 4CED’s efforts to continue to investigate and pursue all viable projects to help diversify San Juan County’s economy. 4CED has had an excellent long-standing relationship with NWNM Council of Governments, and this only enhances the relationship.”

San Juan County is facing the potential closure of the San Juan Generating Station in 2022 if efforts to retrofit it with carbon capture technology are unsuccessful. The nearby Four Corners Power Plant is scheduled to close in 2031. These power plants and their associated coal mines have been major economic contributors and provide high-paying jobs. In addition, the San Juan Generating Station and the San Juan Mine contribute to the property tax base.

The money is to be spent on economic diversification efforts. 4CED already has several initiatives underway that could provide new economic opportunities.

Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at hgrover@daily-times.com.

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