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Group misleads public about PNM intentions

In a July 16 opinion piece in the Journal, Michael McCally, board member of New Energy Economy, continues the group’s strategy of telling tall tales about PNM’s plan for San Juan Generating Station and proposed mix of replacement power, as well as the company’s environmental record. PNM is committed to making sure our customers and all New Mexicans know the truth.

Far from running from the discussion about greenhouse gas emissions, PNM has long been working with key local and national stakeholders to find responsible solutions. PNM began voluntarily reporting greenhouse gas emissions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency long before it was a requirement.

PNM was also among the first utilities in the nation to encourage Congress to pass federal legislation regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The leadership of Gov. Susana Martinez enabled PNM to collaborate with EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department to develop the best and most cost effective plan for San Juan.

The plan was necessary to help New Mexico meet federal haze regulations, but we wanted to make sure we also addressed federal regulations on power plant emissions we knew were coming. Because of that foresight and if approved by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, the PNM plan would also put our state well down the road toward compliance with the proposed federal Clean Power Plan, a final version of which is expected this summer.

Just as important, the plan minimizes the impact on customer bills.

NEE is proposing an all-or-nothing scheme that would result in closing the plant, which would initially cost customers nearly five times as much as the PNM plan while eliminating jobs and devastating the Four Corners economy. PNM’s plan would dramatically reduce the use of coal at the plant and increase the use of cleaner energy resources, including solar.

PNM has fully embraced renewable energy, especially solar. By the end of 2015, we will have a total of 15 solar plants on-line at a total investment of $270 million.

For each plant PNM builds, approximately 100 temporary local constructions jobs are created. The combined millions in annual taxes from these plants provide critical economic support to local communities.

NEE tells more tall tales about air quality and health impacts in New Mexico. Let’s look at the facts.

EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards are designed to protect human health. San Juan consistently meets or exceeds these standards. In fact, air quality monitors placed near the plant, in Bloomfield and near Navajo Lake have shown concentrations of particulate matter fall well below the EPA annual average National Ambient Air Quality Standard.

Data compiled by The World Health Organization show San Juan County has some of the cleanest air in the nation in terms of particulate levels. The American Lung Association’s annual report on air quality in New Mexico supports that finding.

A 2014 state Department of Health study says about asthma says the disease is complex and develops from interactions between environmental and genetic factors. The report states that the highest risk factors are family history, exposure to airborne allergens and indoor environmental pollutants, obesity, poverty and exposure to tobacco smoke.

PNM takes seriously its responsibility to protect our air and water, and it is inaccurate and irresponsible for NEE to claim power plant emissions are responsible for the majority of health costs resulting from lung and respiratory disease in New Mexico.

McCally states that omission is the worst kind of deception. NEE’s omitting facts to sway opinion against PNM’s plan is deception.

The public and our customers deserve the truth, which we will continue to share.