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Future of San Juan Generating Station Remains Uncertain

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The CEO of the Four Corners Economic Development group is warning that closing the San Juan Generating Station near Waterflow, New Mexico, would be a blow to the area.

The Farmington Daily-Times reports that Warren Unsicker told the economic group’s membership at a meeting Thursday that closure of the power plant and the associated San Juan coal mine would mean the loss of more than 645 jobs, $140 million in annual wages, and more than $68 million in state taxes. In March, Public Service Company of New Mexico said it is considering shutting down the last two units at the power plant by 2022; however, the company has not made a final decision. The plant has long been one of the most polluting in the country. In recent years it closed two of its four units to fulfill obligations under the Clean Air Act, but coal-fired plants face increasing competition from cheap natural gas. Meanwhile, public meetings begin next week across the region to take comments on an environmental impact statement being prepared for a proposed modification to the San Juan coal mine’s operating plan. The action would extend mining operations through 2033. One meeting will take place Tuesday, April 11th, in Towaoc, Colorado at the Ute Community Center. It will run from 5 to 8 p.m.


Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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