March 15, 2023

Power plant, mine remediation bill heads to governor’s desk

Hannah Grover

The final day of operations at San Juan Generating Station

A bill that would increase state oversight of the cleanup and remediation of the San Juan Generating Station and the San Juan Mine passed the Senate on a 31-0 vote on Tuesday and now heads to the governor’s desk.

Sen. Shannon Pinto, D-Tohatchi, described HB 142 as a prevention measure that would allow the state’s Energy, Mineral and Natural Resources Department and the New Mexico Environment Department to hire consultants who would conduct an independent comprehensive assessment of the site and report the findings to the legislature.

“This will not prescribe what will be done after the independent comprehensive study is performed, but it does require oversight and enforcement to be determined based on the findings of the independent assessment,” Pinto said while presenting the bill to the Senate.

She spoke about a sediment pond at the power plant and concerns in the community that there could be an incident leading to a breach of the pond.

The Senate passed the bill with no debate.