Sierra Club reaction on new state plan on San Juan coal plant

SJGS © WildEarth Guardians

The state of New Mexico and PNM announced Friday afternoon that they had struck a deal with the EPA to close units 2 and 3 of the four-unit San Juan coal plant and put pollution controls that are less expensive but less effective on the remaining two units to reduce nitrogen oxide. Below is the Sierra Club's response.

Thousands of activists have joined our campaign transition away from coal at San Juan and everywhere to protect our children from health-damaging pollution and disastrous climate consequences. If this deal goes through, you have succeeded in shutting down nearly 900 megawatts of coal -- enough to power 900,000 homes. No jobs will be lost, and PNM will invest at least $1 million into the Four Corners area for economic development.

However, the deal specifies only natural gas as a replacement power, not renewables or efficiency. The Sierra Club will continue to work to clean up the air in the Four Corners area and across the country.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Nellis Kennedy-Howard, Sierra Club Campaign Representative (Albuquerque, NM)
PHONE: (218) 849-4523
February 15, 2013

Albuquerque – State of New Mexico releases new proposed plan for the San Juan Generating Station.

Nellis Kennedy-Howard, Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal to Clean Energy Campaign released the following statement:

“Today’s announcement from the state underscores the broadening consensus that New Mexico must transition away from coal. In the announcement, Governor Martinez acknowledged the pressing need to transition away from coal, but suggested to do so by replacing it with natural gas. It is critical to recognize that New Mexicans demand more than just a switch to natural gas.

By building a reliance on another fossil fuel like natural gas, New Mexico will continue to allow more pollution from methane, benzene, carbon and other toxins. It would also not provide provide affordable nor stable rates for electricity customers. The use of natural gas in our state will not only contribute to both air and water pollution, but it will also threaten our water supply just like coal does - since both are water intensive. Solar and wind power can provide New Mexicans with clean, safe and affordable power that is not water intensive.

New Mexico deserves a plan forward that meets important public health and safeguards of the Clean Air Act. Yet today’s announcement did not make any mention of investments in the rich potential of our state for safer sources of energy like solar, wind, geothermal, or energy efficiency. It is critical that our state leaders chart a path forward that protects the health of our communities and protects our water supply. At a time when New Mexicans are increasingly concerned with droughts and fires as result of the growing climate change disruption crisis, we need solutions that will drive a transition to a true clean energy future.”

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