Letters to the Editor, March 13, 2019
I reference to your March 1, 2019 article titled, “Power Plant nears the end of its Life.” I have the following suggestion.
The article states that the Animas Power Plant is 18 megawatts and $2 million dollars is needed to extend its life for emergencies only.
The City is considering installing natural gas reciprocating engines for $28 million dollars. The City has already spent $487,000 on the project, mostly for feasibility studies, and wants another $200,000 to continue the study.
Rather than spending another $28,200,000 dollars on all of this, why not just buy the power from Four Corners Generating Plant in Waterflow? They intend to be around for another 15 or 20 years.
Norman R. Norville
Protecting jobs in the Four Corners
For all of us who live in the Four Corners area, job security and future economic development are top-of-mind. While we fight for the jobs at the San Juan Generating Station, we must work hard to protect families now—and the future we want for our children—should the plant shut down.
I know that families are worrying right now about what the future holds. That’s why I’ve sponsored legislation to help protect workers, their families, and our community House Bill 498, Abandoned Utility Facilities and Funds. To be clear, House Bill 498 does not require or incentivize or encourage the plant to shut down—it simply requires protections for our workers and communities in the event that it does.
As you may know, I worked in the mines for decades, and I have many friends and family members working in both the mines and power plant today. I understand very well what would happen to miners’ families if the plant shuts down.
My legislation has four simple principles. First, there must be financial assistance to workers and families affected by a shutdown. Second, there must be resources available for economic development for San Juan County, the City of Farmington, the Navajo Nation, and other affected jurisdictions. Third, at least 450 megawatts of replacement power must be sited in the Central Consolidated School District, in order to protect jobs and property taxes that fund our schools. And fourth, there must be a preference for this replacement power generation to hire New Mexico workers, rather than bringing in out-of-state workers.
A diverse group of supporters have endorsed these ideas, from the labor union that represents mine workers here, to local chambers of commerce. Thankfully, there seems to be agreement that San Juan workers have provided energy to New Mexico for decades, and the state, in turn, has a responsibility to help out our families, if the plant should close.
No matter what happens, I will not stop fighting for real solutions for our families.
Rep. Anthony Allison
Energy Transition Act is necessary
I promised my one-year-old daughter I would ensure a clean and healthy future for her.
Part of that is moving our state toward a clean energy future making us an innovator that there just last on another list. Passing the Energy Transition Act would be a good first step into the future.
Trump’s “Beautiful coal” is some of the most expensive energy out there now. The market for it is basically non-existent which part of why PNM is planning on shutting down its San Juan Coal Plant in 2022.
We have to close coal and move into renewables and Senate Bill 489, also known as the Energy Transition Act helps ease this transition.
ETA ensures that our communities in the San Juan County receive severance relief, worker retraining and county tax aid. This is the securitization of the bill. What makes this possible, is allowing PNM to submit an application to the Public Regulation Commission to place the remaining debt on the plant into triple A bonds, reducing the cost to PNM customers.
The bill also requires PNM to increase the amount of energy it produces from renewables by double in just 5 years. Some of that will be built in the San Juan County to alleviate issues of the power plant closing but the possibilities are limitless.
Editor’s Note: The Energy Transition Act passed the state Senate late Wednesday night and the House approved it this week and sent it to the governor's desk for her signature.