Talon News - Good Local News

By Warren Unsicker
Four Corners Economic Development 

LOCAL ECONOMY, WHY YOUR OPINION MATTERS

 

April 21, 2017



San Juan County is undeniably and intrinsically tied to the carbon energy industry. We are always at the ready to assist and defend our key industry partners to ensure they remain viable parts of our community. Their support and employment of hundreds and even thousands of our citizens is something that cannot be ignored.

I wanted to bring to the attention of our citizens and stakeholders some of the current issues our community faces regarding two of our electricity generation partners.

The San Juan Coal Company (SJCC) mine that serves PNM's San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) is the subject of an "Environmental Impact Statement." This study requires them to re-evaluate their impacts on the environment in San Juan County, including the economy. Should this study come back negatively, it could result in the mine and the plant it serves closing as soon as 2019. We need your voice at the table with regards to the positive impacts of the over 645 jobs and the connected businesses that this mine supports the community, as well as how the closure could negatively impact your business or livelihood. It's imperative that you share your voice as we face new threats to this longstanding industry.

We encourage you to please submit comment with regards to this potential closure of the mine through the following channels. The deadline to submit comments is May 8th:

Email to: [email protected]; or mail/courier to: Gretchen Pinkham, OSMRE, c/o Catalyst Environmental Solutions, P.O. Box 56539, Sherman, CA 91413. 

Your voice counts more than you know.

In conjunction with this, we are also in the midst of other considerations regarding our electricity generation industry. PNM, the lead operator of the San Juan Generating Station (SJGS) is currently performing their Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to evaluate their entire resource portfolio to determine their lowest-cost option for their customers.

One of those potential options includes closing the plant in 2022. No decision has been made on which of the many scenarios will be the final one, but Four Corners Economic Development and its member companies are keeping a close eye on the issues and doing everything in our power to communicate the value of the plant to the community and the state that they present. Not only do the plant and mine employ hundreds in the region, but they also provide significant tax base to the already cash-strapped state budget, over $68 million to be exact. That doesn't even take into account the schools that rely on that tax base, as well as the County coffers. We want to keep community members apprised of any and all ways in which they can assist in this not being the option chosen. As things develop in this process, we will be sharing ways in which you can help by visiting our website, http://www.realpeoplerealjobsnm.com. We will be updating it regularly with information on the process as well as potential ways to get involved.

Four Corners Economic Development is dedicated to creating and sustaining jobs in San Juan County, and that includes the retention and expansion of our existing industries. We are also working diligently to diversify our business sectors in the community to create stability and insulate our economy from the cyclical nature of the carbon energy industry.

We thank you for your continued support of our key industries here in San Juan County, and we will continue to be advocate on your behalf for the jobs and businesses that make this place our home.

 

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