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Local News

  • State proposes San Juan Plant option

    Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration has issued a proposed settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency for installing pollution controls at the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico.

    In August 2011, the EPA issued the Federal Implementation Plan, which ordered PNM to install select catalytic reduction technology on all four units of the San Juan Generating Station within five years, rejecting PNM’s proposal to install a less expensive technology called selective non-catalytic reduction technology.

    Martinez filed a petition to repeal the FIP in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is still pending.

    The EPA granted a 90-stay of the FIP in July 2012, and asked the New Mexico Environment Department to lead the effort to bring all stakeholders to the table to discuss alternatives. The NMED solicited proposals from stakeholders (none were submitted) and conducted a series of public meetings for input.

    New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioners Jason Marks and Doug Howe submitted a plan that called for replacing some existing coal units at SJGS with modern natural gas fired technology, utilizing renewable energy sources in the region and installing the less costly SNCR equipment on the plant’s remaining units.

  • Clean energy advocates march on Capitol

    In response to a proposal by the New Mexico Environment Department for reducing emissions from the San Juan Generating Station, a coalition of approximately 200 clean energy advocates marched on the Capitol last week and presented a petition to Gov. Susana Martinez’s office containing approximately 3,000 signatures advocating for renewable energy.

    The coalition includes the New Mexico Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light, Organizers in the Land of Enchantment, Sierra Club, 350.org New Mexico, Diné Citizens Against Ruining Our Environment, McCune Solar Works LLC, Moms for the Environment and New Energy Economy.

    Shrayas Jatkar, organizing representative for the Sierra Club, said the coalition is asking for firm dates for phasing out all four SJGS coal units and replacing them with renewable energy sources and developing a viable economic development plan for the Four Corners region.

    “I see this as a positive step in recognizing that coal no longer makes sense for New Mexico,” Jatkar said about the state’s proposal.

    “However, this doesn’t go far enough. Units three and four are the largest units and emit the most pollutants, and the plan does not incorporate renewable resources.

  • Jerry Sandusky Sentenced to at Least 30 Years
  • Skydiver cancels planned record free fall because of high winds

    ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — Extreme athlete and skydiver Felix Baumgartner canceled his planned death-defying 23-mile free fall on Tuesday into the New Mexico desert because of high winds.

    The 43-year-old former military parachutist from Austria had hoped to become the first skydiver to break the sound barrier and shatter three other world records.

    But the weather forced his team to cancel his planned ascent in a 55-story, ultra-thin helium balloon that was to take him to the stratosphere.

  • A path to good governance

    John C. Hopkins, Charter Review Committee Chair

    Chris Chandler, I&R Subcommittee Chair

     

    The Charter Review Committee (CRC) spent over two years studying the Los Alamos County Charter.  After numerous public meetings and considerable debate, the CRC’s and Council’s proposals relating to initiative, referendum and recall are now being presented to the voters on the fall ballot.  

     

    The CRC approached its study of initiative and referendum (I&R) beginning with the tenet that representative democracy is the basis of our American system of government. It is within this context that we considered the role of initiative and referendum.  When and under what conditions is direct citizen legislation appropriate?  We concluded that the voters are entitled to well-defined processes that provide citizens with a means to “check” on extraordinarily poor or misguided Council action, not as a routine method for objecting to Council decisions. 

     

  • All about checks and balances

    Editor, Los Alamos Monitor:

    “Checks and balances” is the phrase that describes the web of interactions among the branches of a government that provides for limiting governmental excess by the separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial sectors.  For example in the first instance, the federal government, the legislature passes laws but those laws can only be enforced by the executive and interpreted by the judicial, the legislature can remove judges or presidents and controls their budgets but is itself greatly constrained by being bifurcated.  And so on.  In the extreme these checks and balances can and do produce gridlock so moderation is necessary.

    Recently it has been alleged that the municipal government of Los Alamos operates without adequate checks and balances because there is no separation of powers similar to the federal system.  This naïve allegation has been used to justify the assertion that the referendum and initiative powers enshrined in our charter are essential to prevent municipal excess, and must be as easy as possible to exercise.  In this letter I want to describe the separation of powers in Los Alamos and some of the intricate, three-dimensional web of checks and balances within which the county government operates.

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  • Today in History for October 9th
  • Skydiver's supersonic jump prep underway

    ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) — A weather hold that threatened to cancel extreme athlete and skydiver Felix Baumgartner's death-defying, 23-mile free fall into the southeastern New Mexico desert was lifted Tuesday morning and crews began laying out his balloon.

    The planned early morning launch had been delayed by high winds. But just before 9 a.m., the winds calmed and the team decided to proceed with plans to make the flight, a process that would take about two hours.

    The 43-year-old former military parachutist from Austria plans to take off in a 55-story, ultra-thin and easy-to-tear helium balloon that will take him into the stratosphere for the jump. He hopes it will make him the first skydiver to break the sound barrier and shatter three other world records.