SANTA FE ― Wednesday, New Mexico environmental, community, and labor advocates decried the NM Public Regulation Commission’s decision to delay voting on whether the Commission will apply the state’s recently enacted Energy Transition Act when closing the San Juan Generating Station.
The groups said the PRC is creating additional uncertainty by causing delays, and could jeopardize the good work by a diverse set of stakeholders and lawmakers who supported the Energy Transition Act earlier this year. The law would provide economic assistance to coal miners, San Juan plant maintenance and operations personnel, their families, and San Juan County as PNM closes the coal-fired power plant, while creating new jobs and opportunity and making New Mexico a national leader in the fight against the climate crisis.
Labor unions, environmental advocates, the Navajo Nation, community organizations, businesses, and utilities came together to push for the Energy Transition Act. The law was enacted this spring with enthusiastic, bipartisan support, thanks to the leadership of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Senators Jacob Candelaria and Mimi Stewart, and Representative Nathan Small.
“San Juan County families are counting on the job training and apprenticeship opportunities the ETA provides, and this irresponsible decision puts those resources at risk,” said Brian Condit, president of the New Mexico Building Trades. “New Mexico should be helping communities build their 21st century workforce, not stymie progress and make businesses think twice about investing here.”
“New Mexico took tremendous action this year to transition for the shutdown of the largest source of air pollution in the state and get us on a path to energy independence – all while saving New Mexicans money,” said Stephanie Maez, the executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico. “The PRC is charged with protecting New Mexico ratepayers, but this decision could lead to higher energy bills, continued dependence on polluting fossil fuels, and greater public health risks for New Mexicans.”
“New Mexicans want to power our homes and businesses with local renewable energy resources, but the PRC has chosen to make that more difficult and costly for the state,” said Sanders Moore, executive director of Environment New Mexico. “The Legislature did its part to create a policy guiding our state’s transition away from coal. It’s time for the PRC to use that statute and keep New Mexico moving toward a clean energy future.”
“By punting this decision, the PRC is creating uncertainty for New Mexico families and businesses, and jeopardizing the progress made this year to leverage our state’s abundant clean energy resources,” said Maria Nájera, government affairs director for Western Resource Advocates. “Our state has an important opportunity right now to reduce costs for consumers and do our part to confront climate change. The PRC should keep us on this trajectory, not set us further back .”