New Mexico lawmakers discuss coal power phase-out

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FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Lawmakers from coal industry-dependent regions of northwestern New Mexico urged utility regulators to consider the local economic consequences of utility plans to shut down two coal-fired power plants and related mining operations.

Investor-owned utility Public Service Co. of New Mexico has proposed phasing out the use of coal-fired electricity by retiring the San Juan generating station near Farmington in 2022 and abandoning the Four Corners power plant in Fruitland by 2031.

Senate Finance Committee Chairwoman Patricia Lundstrom of Gallup on Wednesday questioned whether it makes sense for the utility to walk away from investments in the San Juan plant. She says consideration should be given to attracting energy-intensive industries to share the San Juan site.

Lawmakers met with utility executives and officials from the state Public Regulation Commission.

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