some recently published letters about San Juan Generating Station/PNM

SJGS © WildEarth Guardians

Dirty Coal Is Just So Last Century

A FEW YEARS ago I toured the massive coal-burning power plant that has generated much of New Mexico’s electricity for the last 40 years. It’s a huge, impressive behemoth of a plant. And, like the behemoths of the age of the dinosaurs, its time has come. San Juan Generating Station should be retired, not retooled.

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Dirty Coal Is Just So Last Century

A FEW YEARS ago I toured the massive coal-burning power plant that has generated much of New Mexico’s electricity for the last 40 years. It’s a huge, impressive behemoth of a plant. And, like the behemoths of the age of the dinosaurs, its time has come. San Juan Generating Station should be retired, not retooled.

Coal is a dirty, outdated fuel. It causes smog and lung problems, emits mercury into the air and spews the carbon dioxide that is warming up our world, causing droughts and threatening our water supply. Coal is said to be affordable, but if PNM had to pay for the health problems caused by coal pollution, our utility bills would surge.

Luckily, clean energy technologies are becoming more practical all the time. The cost of solar-electric panels has dropped by 50 percent in the last 10 years. On a sunny day this summer, Germany generated nearly half its electricity from solar panels. Germany is not known for its sun, but it has invested in clean energy. Imagine what the Southwest U.S. could do if we committed our resources to becoming solar and wind capital of our nation.

It is time to make firm deadlines for the phasing out of the four units of San Juan Generating Station, and look ahead to what will take their place. Coal was the electricity source of the 20th century. We are living in a new century, and we need a new source.

EVA THADDEUS

Albuquerque

From The New Mexican:

Proof in the record

Contrary to myth, ostriches do not hide their heads in the sand. Unfortunately it seems that we do. The average temperature in June 2012 in Albuquerque was 80.3 degrees. This was 5.5 degrees warmer than the 1931 to 2012 average for June. I am using the Albuquerque data because a reliable data set is not available over this long term for Santa Fe. But Santa Fe’s temperatures show a similar trend.

But rather than trying to force policy decisions that would help to contain the disastrous warming, we deny and ignore the realities of what our coal-generating power company is contributing to this. And this is aided and abetted by the deniers in positions of policy. Some politicians and corporate executives tell falsehoods; most thermometers do not.

Steven Rudnick

Santa Fe

Tom Friedman wrote That Used To Be Us, about how America stopped being competitive. Germany, larger than New Mexico but with less sun, increased its solar capacity by 50 percent last year and provided half its residents — 40 million people — with solar power.

But Public Service Company of New Mexico spends money keeping derelict San Juan Generating Station limping along, and Gov. Susana Martinez uses state funds to help them lawyer up against Environmental Protection Agency requirements. Rates, pollution and CEO compensation all rise: What a deal!

Other countries eat our lunch while PNM continues its love affair with dirty, inefficient technologies. Next will be fracking, which will make New Mexico as toxic as old Soviet Europe. We’ve been dependent on Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for so long that we seem determined to continue our dependence on others for energy, and the dirtier it is, the better we like it.

You can’t lead if you fear the future.

John McAndrew

Eldorado