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New Mexico regulators approve San Juan power plant proposal

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — State environmental regulators on Thursday signed off on a proposal that calls for shutting down part of a coal-fired power plant that serves more than 2 million customers in the Southwest.

Los Alamos County owns a 7.2 percent share of the generating station’s unit 4, which provides approximately 50 percent of the electricity requirements for Los Alamos County.

The proposal was negotiated earlier this year by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez's administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state's largest electric utility, PNM, as a way to curb pollution at the San Juan Generating Station in northwestern New Mexico.

Martinez said the decision by the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board to back the plan clears the way for "the best solution to balance the environmental and economic impacts of energy production in the Four Corners."

The governor said the agreement will improve air quality, conserve water and avoid what she called "an extremely burdensome" rate hike for PNM customers. She added that it will also help New Mexico make the transition from coal to natural gas.

The state, federal regulators, the utility and environmentalists have been fighting over the best way to reduce pollution at the plant for years.


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