Like Facebook, Holtec could bring high-paying jobs, tax benefits - Albuquerque Journal

Like Facebook, Holtec could bring high-paying jobs, tax benefits

New Mexico’s elected leaders and many citizens often claim to be interested in “diversifying the economy” and attracting good-paying new jobs to our state. When push comes to shove, however, schizophrenia reigns.

Policymakers often outdo themselves throwing subsidies and tax exemptions at businesses while they enact policies or restrictions that make doing business in New Mexico unattractive.

As has been reported in the media, Holtec International has proposed the construction of an “intermediate” storage facility for spent nuclear fuel to be located between Carlsbad and Hobbs. The facility would create as many as 135 jobs, including the construction and operating workforce. Operating jobs would pay between $60,000 and $80,000 annually. The state would experience a total increase in income from direct jobs of about $7.9 million and approximately $820,000 in personal income tax and New Mexico Gross Receipts Tax. This facility represents a major investment in New Mexico’s economy.

This facility received overwhelming bipartisan support from both houses of the Legislature during the 2016 session when both houses passed memorials supporting the proposed Holtec facility.

Economically speaking, Holtec’s plan resembles the Facebook facility in Valencia County that has generated so many positive news stories and resulted in tens of millions of dollars in subsidies from state and local governments.

The biggest difference – aside from Holtec not having asked for subsidies – is the public’s sympathy toward Facebook and its antipathy toward nuclear storage. Holtec’s proposed facility is extremely safe. Safeguard upon safeguard will be implemented to ensure against accidents both in transit and at its final destination.

The issue of nuclear storage transcends New Mexico’s economy, but if it is approved and becomes operational, Holtec’s facility could go a long way toward resolving America’s near-term nuclear storage challenges.

Currently, spent nuclear fuel is stored on-site at nuclear power facilities across the nation. This situation is viewed as sub-optimal by supporters and detractors of nuclear power alike. One or more secure central storage facilities are needed to ensure the spent nuclear fuel is stored safely.

The long-term solution proposed by the federal government is the politically-challenged Yucca Mountain facility in Nevada, which has cost taxpayers billions of dollars and may never be used for its intended purpose. Holtec’s proposed facility provides at least a starting point for a solution that will save federal taxpayers a great deal of money due to fact that federal taxpayers have been paying tens of billions of dollars in fines to utilities in recent decades due to the federal government’s failure to come up with a nuclear storage solution.

And, while nuclear energy is unlikely to grow dramatically in the near-term due to the rise of inexpensive natural gas and increased energy efficiency of the U.S. economy, solving the nuclear storage problem would remove a major obstacle to the industry’s resurgence. As concerns about CO2 emissions and man-made climate change intensify, an increasing number of pro-nuclear environmentalists including, but not limited to, NASA scientist James Hansen and Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore may cause nuclear to gain market share once again.

All of this means that by resolving a certain important aspect of the nuclear storage problem, this Holtec facility could:

• Directly generate new, high-paying jobs and tax dollars for New Mexico;

• Help solve the United States’ nuclear storage woes, thus improving the odds for a zero-carbon energy source which in turn;

• Spurs future demand for uranium production, an industry which at one time served as the backbone of economically-depressed areas of west-central New Mexico.

On that last point, it is true that many communities have been negatively impacted by uranium mining in the past. Modern safety advancements and stricter regulations would mean that a nuclear resurgence could be an economic engine for multiple areas of the Land of Enchantment.

As the only state with two national laboratories specializing in nuclear research, New Mexico has always been on the cutting edge of nuclear technology. The proposed Holtec International storage facility is yet another opportunity for the state to lead the way with tremendous immediate economic benefits as well as longer-term potential for a return to growth of a clean and reliable form of zero-carbon emissions energy.

The Rio Grande Foundation is an independent, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and educational organization dedicated to promoting prosperity for New Mexico based on principles of limited government, economic freedom and individual responsibility.

 

Home » Opinion » Guest Columns » Like Facebook, Holtec could bring high-paying jobs, tax benefits


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Mariachi Christmas celebrating 23 years music and ballet folklórico
ABQnews Seeker
Mariachi Christmas at Popejoy Hall will ... Mariachi Christmas at Popejoy Hall will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9.
2
Actor Chaske Spencer examined the 1890s through the lens ...
ABQnews Seeker
'The English' follows aristocratic Englishwoman, Lady ... 'The English' follows aristocratic Englishwoman, Lady Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt), and a Pawnee ex-cavalry scout, Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer), as they come together in ...
3
30-foot sequoia replica to light up Old Town this ...
ABQnews Seeker
Old Town Shop and Stroll and ... Old Town Shop and Stroll and Tree Lighting set for Friday, Dec. 2.
4
Want to see a free comedy show? Big Benny ...
ABQnews Seeker
Local comedian hosting his own company ... Local comedian hosting his own company Christmas party, and everyone is invited
5
Harry Connick Jr. bringing new holiday album to ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
Harry Connick Jr.'s tour makes a ... Harry Connick Jr.'s tour makes a stop at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Kiva Auditorium.
6
Iconic musical ensemble Mannheim Steamroller making holiday tour stop ...
ABQnews Seeker
Mannheim Steamroller, which is currently on ... Mannheim Steamroller, which is currently on its Christmas tour, will make a stop on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Popejoy Hall.
7
Taylor Garrett Spirits releases whiskey finished in Pedro Ximénez ...
ABQnews Seeker
The limited batch of Taylor Garrett ... The limited batch of Taylor Garrett Sherry Cask Finish Whiskey (PX) is available at the Vara Winery & Distillery tasting room.
8
Paloma weaves a jubilant atmosphere with vibrant Mexican food
ABQnews Seeker
The next time you are seeking ... The next time you are seeking a festive spot with a vibrant vibe and dishes, head to Paloma.
9
Everything you need to know before heading to the ...
ABQnews Seeker
Over 4,000 people are set to ... Over 4,000 people are set to participate in the 2022 iteration of the Twinkle Light Parade, which begins at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, ...