The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Big Coal Seeks Big Bailout Despite Strong Opposition
Activists in New Mexico are fighting back against a proposal by their utility, PNM, to continue burning coal at the dirty, expensive San Juan Generating Station for years to come. More than 1,300 New Mexico residents have sent petitions to the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC) urging them to reject PNM’s proposal to extend the utility’s commitment to the coal plant. Sierra Club is supporting their efforts with an aggressive online ad campaign calling on PRC board members to put public health and the interests of New Mexico ratepayers first by rejecting the plan.
Recent revelations about the plan to continue burning coal at the San Juan Generating Station have revealed serious financial risks for local ratepayers. Last month Farmington, New Mexico, home of the San Juan Generating Station, announced they were dropping plans to acquire an increased stake in the plant due to the huge costs that would be passed on to the community. The Albuquerque City Council recently adopted a resolution directing the city to withdraw support for PNM’s current proposal. Other New Mexico stakeholders have also pulled away from the agreement to continue PNM’s use of coal at the plant, citing overall uncertainty about San Juan’s operations.
PNM recently announced that due to an accounting error, the cost estimate for their plan to increase reliance on dirty coal and other expensive fuels has jumped by more than $1 billion, with those costs likely to be passed onto local ratepayers. Given PNM’s recently proposed rate hike that would cost the average New Mexico family $10 a month to fund the utility’s plans to continue burning coal, local utility customers are deeply concerned about the financial impact of PNM’s commitment to coal.
Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are now cost-competitive with coal. Communities impacted by the San Juan Generating Station are questioning why they should bear the financial burden and risk of sticking with coal on top of the devastating health impacts of living near a coal plant.
"There are moral and ethical issues involved in where we get our energy. The direct links to economic justice, care of creation and health of future generations mean that people of faith must pay careful attention to energy issues," said the Rev. Dr. McNiel, Executive Director of New Mexico Conference of Churches and Advisory Board Member for New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light. "We must move to more renewable energy sources in order to reduce the economic and health consequences of power consumption. Our brothers and sisters who are economically poor and live in the shadows of coal fired power plants suffer the most here in New Mexico and around the world. PNM's plans to continue burning coal will only continue to threaten them, and that is immoral."
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Extreme weather events supercharged by climate change in 2012 led to nearly 1,000 more deaths, more than 20,000 additional hospitalizations, and cost the U.S. healthcare system $10 billion, a new report finds.
A Bay Area conservation group struck a deal to buy and to protect the world's largest remaining privately owned sequoia forest for $15.6 million. Now it needs to raise the money, according to CNN.
The Rugby World Cup starts Friday in Japan where Pacific Island teams from Samoa, Fiji and Tonga will face off against teams from industrialized nations. However, a new report from a UK-based NGO says that when the teams gather for the opening ceremony on Friday night and listen to the theme song "World In Union," the hypocrisy of climate injustice will take center stage.
By Wudan Yan
In June, New York Times journalist Andy Newman wrote an article titled, "If seeing the world helps ruin it, should we stay home?" In it, he raised the question of whether or not travel by plane, boat, or car—all of which contribute to climate change, rising sea levels, and melting glaciers—might pose a moral challenge to the responsibility that each of us has to not exacerbate the already catastrophic consequences of climate change. The premise of Newman's piece rests on his assertion that traveling "somewhere far away… is the biggest single action a private citizen can take to worsen climate change."
On Monday, Sept. 23, the Climate Group will kick off its 11th annual Climate Week NYC, a chance for governments, non-profits, businesses, communities and individuals to share possible solutions to the climate crisis while world leaders gather in the city for the UN Climate Action Summit.
By Pam Radtke Russell in New Orleans
Local TV weather forecasters have become foot soldiers in the war against climate misinformation. Over the past decade, a growing number of meteorologists and weathercasters have begun addressing the climate crisis either as part of their weather forecasts, or in separate, independent news reports to help their viewers understand what is happening and why it is important.