Supreme Court's San Juan decision pending, parties file more briefs - Albuquerque Journal

Supreme Court’s San Juan decision pending, parties file more briefs

The coal-fired San Juan Generating Station near Farmington. (Journal)
The coal-fired San Juan Generating Station near Farmington. (Journal)

Parties filed arguments on Friday for and against an emergency request for the state Supreme Court to enforce New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act in regulatory proceedings to shut down the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station near Farmington.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and legislative supporters jointly petitioned the court in December for a writ of mandamus to force the state Public Regulation Commission to abide by the law in deliberations on the future of San Juan, which Public Service Company of New Mexico wants to abandon in 2022. Until now, the PRC has refused to say whether it will apply the law, instead allowing parties in the case to argue for and against the law’s applicability during two weeks of public hearings in December.

The governor and supporting parties say Supreme Court intervention is critical to uphold the constitutional separation of powers, since the state Legislature passed the law this year with bipartisan support, the governor signed it, and it took effect in June.

“There was overwhelming support,” said Rep. Nathan Small, D-Doña Ana, who co-sponsored the legislation. “When laws are duly passed, they must be implemented.”

But the Santa Fe-based environmental group New Energy Economy says the law is unconstitutional, because it strips the PRC of its ability to independently regulate PNM in the San Juan case. The group, which is intervening at the Supreme Court against the government, asked in its “response filing” Friday that the court order a “stay” on proceedings until after the PRC makes its decision in March on law applicability. No matter what the outcome at the PRC, it will be appealed at the Supreme Court anyway, said NEE Executive Director Mariel Nanasi.

“If the PRC does not apply the law, PNM will appeal, and if it is applied, NEE will appeal,” told the Journal. “We’re very close to a PRC decision, so why not wait until then.”

At issue is $360 million that PNM wants to raise with bonds to pay for shutting San Juan, something explicitly authorized under the new law. The bonds would allow PNM to recover all its lost, or “stranded,” investments in the plant, pay for decommissioning costs, and provide about $40 million to assist laid off workers and local communities impacted by plant closure.

Ratepayers, however, would pay off the bonds through a surcharge on their bills, which is what NEE opposes, arguing PNM should share at least 50% or more of those costs. Some commissioners have said they would like to consider that as well.

On the opposite side, PNM and most mainstream environmental groups have lined up behind the government. The Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy, for example, filed a brief on Friday backing the government with support from 16 different organizations.

 


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

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Vax on, vax off: City reverses course on policy
ABQnews Seeker
Citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court ... Citing a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, the city of Albuquerque will not proceed as planned with its COVID-19 vaccine-or-testing requirement for employees. Mayor ...
2
Gov. calls in the troops to help with teacher ...
ABQnews Seeker
National Guard, state employees asked to ... National Guard, state employees asked to volunteer amid COVID surge
3
San Felipe Pueblo member to lead Smithsonian American Indian ...
ABQnews Seeker
Her ancestry includes Hopi, Tewa and ... Her ancestry includes Hopi, Tewa and Navajo
4
Omicron expected to peak soon in NM
ABQnews Seeker
Surge should slow by end of ... Surge should slow by end of January or early February, health officials say
5
Judge orders APS to release requested records, pay damages
ABQnews Seeker
The school district has faced previous ... The school district has faced previous complaints for failure to follow law
6
'Hamilton' at Popejoy postponed until May 2023 due to ...
ABQnews Seeker
Tickets and seats remain secure, and ... Tickets and seats remain secure, and will be honored
7
Environmental bills to watch during this session
ABQnews Seeker
Bills would ensure water, agriculture and ... Bills would ensure water, agriculture and climate initiatives get a slice of the funding pie
8
APD arrests smoke shop owner in drug, gun bust
ABQnews Seeker
Man, 40, believed to be 'a ... Man, 40, believed to be 'a primary drug dealer' in East Central area
9
Airman gets life in prison for death of Mennonite ...
ABQnews Seeker
An Air Force airman will spend ... An Air Force airman will spend the rest of his life in prison for kidnapping a Mennonite woman from northwestern New Mexico, fatally shooting ...
10
NM Kids Count says pandemic undermined child well-being
ABQnews Seeker
Report says Hispanic famialies are hit ... Report says Hispanic famialies are hit the hardest