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Economic district in western NM wins House approval

The Roundhouse

SANTA FE — The state House on Thursday endorsed legislation aimed at helping McKinley and Cibola counties bounce back from the expected closure of a coal plant near Grants.

The legislation would allow the formation of an economic development district and new taxing authority to aid in redevelopment of the site.

Rep. Patricia Lundstrom, a Gallup Democrat and co-sponsor of the bill, said the closure of the Escalante plant later this year will cost New Mexico hundreds of jobs.

“This is a tremendous economic blow to my counties,” she said.

The proposal, House Bill 8, picked up some bipartisan support and won approval 55-9. It now heads to the Senate.

Opponents of the bill suggested the proposal should be expanded to address the scheduled closure of a power plant in San Juan County.

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