FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Santa Fe, N.M. – Today, a coalition of 23 organizations urged each senator and representative in the New Mexico Legislature to vote against SB 47/HB 80 – the Energy Redevelopment Bond Act. The coalition expressed unified opposition to the measures in a letter distributed to all legislators this morning. The legislature is currently considering SB 47/HB 80 during the ongoing 30-day session at the State Capitol in Santa Fe. Senate Bill 47 will be heard in the Senate Conservation Committee on Tuesday, which meets at 8:30 am in Room 311.

The authors and supporters of the letter, included below in full, are a coalition of partners and allies in the statewide environmental community that represent cross-sector interests including public health, business, faith, sportsmen, clean energy, environmental justice and conservation interests.

From the letter: “These bills, proposed by the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), address the closure of the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station (SJGS). Closing the nation’s most polluting coal plant is not only good for public health and our climate, it creates a huge opportunity to transition to clean energy in our state, generating the clean energy jobs and sustainable economic growth we need. But PNM’s bills miss this opportunity and instead only look to protect their financial bottom line. PNM’s decision to shut down the San Juan Generating Station by 2022 –  three decades earlier than originally planned –  was driven by the fact that the coal plant can no longer turn a profit for them. However, what’s gotten lost in PNM’s bottom-line decision is the bottom line of families living in the Four Corners region, many of whom are Navajo.”

Here is the full text of the letter:

Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2018
To: All members of the New Mexico legislature
From: Members of the Environmental and Conservation Community
Subject: Oppose SB 47/HB 80 Energy Redevelopment Bond Act

Esteemed New Mexico Senators and Representatives,

We, the undersigned, write to you today to urge you to oppose Senate Bill 47 and House Bill 80 Energy Redevelopment Bond Act, as written. We are a coalition of partners and allies in the statewide environmental community that represent cross-sector interests including public health, business, faith, sportsmen, clean energy, environmental justice and conservation interests. We have participated in negotiations that have failed to lead to consensus at this point.

These bills, proposed by the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), address the closure of the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station (SJGS). Closing the nation’s most polluting coal plant is not only good for public health and our climate, it creates a huge opportunity to transition to clean energy in our state, generating the clean energy jobs and sustainable economic growth we need. But PNM’s bills miss this opportunity and instead only look to protect their financial bottom line. PNM’s decision to shut down the San Juan Generating Station by 2022 — three decades earlier than originally planned — was driven by the fact that the coal plant can no longer turn a profit for them. However, what’s gotten lost in PNM’s bottom-line decision is the bottom line of families living in the Four Corners region, many of whom are Navajo. When SGJS closes, we want it replaced with clean energy production. We want a good deal for the people of the Four Corners, who have worked for generations to provide energy for New Mexicans. We can’t leave them behind.

Any conversation regarding the closure of SJGS must be holistic in its approach to address its economic, environmental and justice impacts. A bill that protects only PNM shareholders must not pass this legislature. In order for the conservation community and statewide allies to consider supporting a securitization proposal, it must include:

  1. A community-driven transition plan for the Four Corners area, that will both diversify the local economy, and ensure that the area isn’t left behind in the transition to a post-coal  economy. The community needs to create space and opportunity to determine their own solutions, rather than seek to resolve the company’s financial concerns during a 30-day legislative session.
  2. An open and transparent plan for transition to the post-coal energy future of New Mexico, featuring solutions that support a robust and independent renewable energy sector.
  3. The assurance that New Mexico ratepayer directly benefit from the savings of transitioning to a renewable energy economy, while guaranteeing that the PRC’s ability to hold PNM accountable remains intact.

These introduced bills do not address the issues that we have outlined above. The bills offer insufficient protections to ratepayers by failing to include a limit on how much PNM can securitize, or submit to, the Public Regulation Commission, which is the appropriate regulatory agency.

The bills offer insufficient guarantees to communities in the Four Corners area, by failing to articulate a plan that will help diversify and expand the local economy beyond coal power. They also miss the opportunity to articulate a vision for what the future of energy generation ought to look like in New Mexico.

Each of the undersigned organizations fully recognizes the gravity of this decision and its impacts. Closing the coal plant is a big deal. Let’s make it a good deal for Four Corners’ families.

Please vote “no” on Senate Bill 47 and House Bill 80 Energy Redevelopment Bond Act.

Thank you for your consideration,

Conservation Voters New Mexico
Western Resource Advocates
New Energy Economy
Diné Citizens Against Ruining our Environment
San Juan Citizens Alliance
Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment
Rio Grande Chapter of Sierra Club
New Mexico Environmental Law Center
New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light
Defenders of Wildlife
Earth Care
Amigos Bravos
Food and Water Watch
Hispanics Enjoying Hunting, Camping and the Outdoors
Earthworks
The Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce
350.org New Mexico
Environment New Mexico
Western Environmental Law Center
New Mexico Sportsmen
Southwest Environmental Center
Union of Concerned Scientists
Gila Resources Information Project

Media Contact: Liliana Castillo at 505-992-8683 or liliana@cvnm.org

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