A federal court in Denver told the Public Service Co. of New Mexico on Thursday it must install equipment to reduce significantly the 16,000 tons a year of haze and ozone and nitrogen pollution produced by the smokestacks at the San Juan Generating Station near Farmington.
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and PNM had asked the court to delay the work while they fight the Environmental Protection Agency order in court.
The order by the 10th Circuit of Appeals denies the appeal and signals that the EPA decision is a solid one.
“Now it’s really time for PNM and Gov. Martinez to stop standing against the health of our communities who breathe this plant’s pollution day in day out,” Sara Jane White with Diné CARE, a Navajo group, said in a news release. “It’s time they start standing instead where the people of New Mexico stand – on the side of energy from clean sources that create jobs and protect health, land, air and water.”
The San Juan Generating Station is located just outside Navajo tribal land near Farmington. White said the plant needs the best pollution control possible as long as it operates.
The federal court ruling comes shortly after a report that said while PNM was battling the EPA order, it had raised residential power rates 41 percent since 2008.
Mariel Nanasi, director of New Energy Economy, said in a statement that PNM is building corporate profits during a period of economic recession.
“Now, Gov. Martinez and the utility should immediately stop wasting ratepayer and taxpayer money fighting clean air and public health in court and start investing in clean energy,” Nanasi said.
Nitrogen pollution from power plants has been a major source of harmful haze in the Four Corners for decades.