Over the past few weeks, one thing has become clear here in New Mexico: coal is a bad investment.
Today, Public Service of New Mexico is charging ahead with a plan to continue burning coal at the nearby San Juan Generating Station for years to come. On top of that, the utility is also exploring purchasing the struggling San Juan coal mine or even constructing a new mine to fuel the plant. By locking our community into a future of more coal, PNM will prolong the life of one of our region's worst polluters and threaten the financial health of families throughout New Mexico.
For decades, families in our community have lived under the toxic threat of coal from the nearby San Juan Generating Station. According to the Clean Air Task Force, pollution from the San Juan Generating Station contributes to 15 deaths, 23 heart attacks, and 280 asthma attacks every year. In addition to the public health burdens a continued reliance on coal presents to our community, we can also see the enormous financial risks we all face if PNM continues on a path toward more dirty coal power.
Earlier this year, PNM announced that due to a cost accounting error, the cost estimates for their plan to continue burning dirty coal at San Juan and pour our money into other expensive fuels had increased by $1 billion, with those costs likely being passed onto ratepayers like you and me.
This week, the Public Regulation Commission held hearings here in Farmington on PNM's plans to continue burning coal at the San Juan Generating Station. Local public health and environmental leaders, clean energy advocates, and concerned residents gathered at the hearings to send a message to our state regulators loud and clear: we deserve better than PNM reinforcing investment in coal and nuclear.