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HB 142 - Model Legislation for Protection of People, Land and Water headed to Governor's Desk

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

In a natural extension of New Energy Economy's many years of work to close the coal fired San Juan Generating Station, an effort shared with many groups and individuals who care for the earth, we were proud to work closely with HB 142 sponsors - Representative Anthony Allison, Rep. Reena Szczepanski and Rep. Marian Matthews - and with community organizers in San Juan, especially Chili Yazzie, to draft and advocate for the San Juan Generating Station and Mine Remediation Act. On Tuesday it passed on the Senate Floor 31-0!! The bill authorizes NMED and EMNRD to hire outside consultants … environmental engineers, geochemists, hydrologists, and other professionals who have experience with coal plant and mine closures to perform an independent comprehensive assessment and report back to the legislature. Additionally, the results of the assessment will be posted on line. The purpose of this bill is Prevention. The analysis and cleanup plan required by the bill will ensure that toxic metal contaminants don’t leach into the ground and leak into waterways or otherwise harm the public, animals or agriculture, and cause negative public health consequences for the people of San Juan County and beyond. The third-party investigators will develop a reclamation and restoration plan with community input that will protect the environment from contamination for human and ecosystem health, and prevent the migration of toxic metal contaminants and off-site pollution. The law will prioritize, to the extent possible, the hiring of workers who were previously employed at the generating facility and mine, and workers residing in New Mexico for the reclamation and restoration work. New Energy Economy has been contacted by advocates in other states who seek to replicate this important legislation to protect their communities from the toxic legacy of the many coal plants slated to close their doors in the near future. Evidence shows that improper storage of coal ash and other contaminants at coal plants and mines across the country contaminates the land and water, and that the independent oversight and pro-active remediation of this toxic legacy is a necessary final step in the transition away from coal power. We are grateful, again, to all those who supported this effort, and to the legislators and community organizers who worked to ensure its passage. The earth provides all, and deserves our protection.


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