After more than 15 years of pressure from frontline communities, advocates, market forces, and regulation, PNM filed to abandon the San Juan Coal Plant today. This is a moment to celebrate! Congratulations to all of the water and land protectors, environmental groups, climate justice warriors, and economic justice advocates who made this moment possible.
Let’s take a minute to honor all the sacrifices that our communities, workers, and the environment have suffered at the hands of this toxic plant. Our lights, computers, and appliances have been powered primarily by San Juan for more than 45 years. While it did bring billions in profits for PNM shareholders and Executives over its 45+ lifespan, generated taxable revenues, and jobs in an area that has seen systematic disinvestment, it also contributed to chronic illnesses and pollution that cut many beautiful, invaluable lives short, generated billions of lbs of carbon emissions, heavy metal contamination, and coal ash waste.
It is important that we stop and take a moment to really contemplate this. In 2022, when the plant is fully shuttered, the assault will end. But that alone does not guarantee that justice will be won.
We have all been waiting with bated breath to see what PNM has to offer in this moment of transition. This is an opportunity for truth and reconciliation, for healing and for justice.
Is their filing reflective of the commitment to a “just transition” espoused by their representatives and friends in the 2019 Legislature?
Or, is it consistent with their commitment to their shareholders and their profit that we have seen time and time again?
We are reading with an open mind and open hearts (even while our past experience teaches us to scrutinize the details -- which you can always trust, we will).
This is what we’ve found so far:
Just as we warned, PNM has proposed 280 megawatts of gas. (You’ll recall our concerns during the legislative session that PNM was moving forward with plans for a gas plant even while claiming a commitment to fossil fuel disinvestment).
Our recent regulatory victories regarding PNM's rigged ownership of renewables has forced PNM to include SOME third-power producers in their proposal, but their scenarios do not appear to be generated from competitive procurement processes.
The scenarios considered by PNM have fundamental biases toward their ownership of replacement power resources.
Transition funds for workers and impacted communities are paid for 100% by ratepayers - the company has offered little to nothing to workers or the local community in exchange for the billions they’ve generated from the plant’s operation.
PNM plans to securitize $360 million from ratepayers (no balancing of interests between ratepayers & shareholders: all undepreciated assets to be paid by ratepayers)
We have been preparing for this case for 15 years and together, with you, we’ve been building a movement strong enough to hold PNM accountable and demand real justice -- for the environment, for impacted communities, for ratepayers, and for our children’s children -- who deserve clean water, clean air, a world free from environmental racism, and democracy -- capable of protecting them. Dozens of coal plants are set to close in the next few years - and all eyes are on New Mexico.
Let’s make sure we do this right!
It is OUR responsibility to ensure that we seize this incredible opportunity for our communities to benefit from the transition to renewables, to hold companies like PNM accountable for full clean-up and reparations, and to lift up the voices and demands of those most directly impacted by coal extraction.
Please join with us in this monumental fight!
Donate today to support our legal intervention, our coal ash, public health, and economic experts, and our organizing work.
Together, we can win.
The New Energy Economy Team
To see our rock star filing in advance of oral argument on July 17, 2019 at the PRC please click here [pdf].