Comment at Regional Haze Hearings in Santa Fe, Farmington

New Mexico’s Environmental Improvement Board is at the center of the public policy debate once again. This time, it is hearing comments on a state implementation plan, known as a SIP, to address regional haze. A key part of this plan would require the installation of new technology at the San Juan Generating Station in the Four Corners area, but minimizes the cost to New Mexico electricity customers. As I wrote in a previous blog posting, the plan now before the EIB is far better than a second plan being pushed by the EPA and radical environmentalists.

The meetings take place next week:
June 1, 2011
9:00 a.m. (with public comment portion expected to start at 1 p.m.)
Room 307, NM State Capitol Building
490 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87501
June 2-4 (as necessary)
9:00 a.m.
Room 7103 (Little Theater), San Juan College
4601 College Blvd
Farmington, New Mexico 87402

Some basic information that might be considered for use in comments follows:

• The Environmental Improvement Board should adopt the draft State Implementation Plan as proposed by the New Mexico Environment Department.

• The draft state plan strikes the appropriate balance between minimizing cost impacts and protecting the environment.

• The state plan will lower NOx emissions by 4,900 tons per year at San Juan Generating Station. This, combined with recent environmental upgrades at San Juan, will result in an overall emissions reduction in NOx of 54% since 2005.

• The draft implementation plan proposed by the New Mexico Environment Department is the best option for PNM customers, especially those of us representing the business customer community. New Mexico businesses have been hit hard by the economic downturn and though many factors are impacting energy costs, this is one cost that impacts the cost of electricity that can be minimized with your adoption of this proposal.

• As you know, costs incurred at power plants are part of electric rates to customers. The environmental control technology, SNCR, called for in the proposal can be installed at San Juan for one-tenth the cost that would be incurred if U.S. EPA’s proposed plan for SCR is put into effect.

• In addition, the San Juan Generating Station and the San Juan Coal Mine that supplies fuel to the generating station are major employers in the Four Corners region and contribute to the economic health of the region and the state.

• SJGS employs 394 full-time workers, 20 percent of whom are Native American

• The San Juan mine employs 526 people, of whom 46% percent are Native American

• The plant pays millions of dollars a year in government taxes, including $54.8 M in coal royalties and taxes paid to governments and tribes and $6.4 M paid to in property tax to San Juan County.

• San Juan also purchases about $30 M in materials and supplies each year and hold approximately $122 M in contracts for outside services. The plant pays $280 M each year for coal and ash removal.

• Thank you for your consideration and I urge you to adopt the proposal recommended by the New Mexico Environment Department.