Feb. 15, 2013
PNM, State Reach Agreement with EPA for Plan to Address Regional Haze at San Juan Generating Station
Albuquerque: PNM, the N.M. Environment Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today agreed to pursue a revised plan that would provide a new path forward for San Juan Generating Station to comply with federal visibility rules.
The terms agreed to today would result in a less costly solution that provides broader environmental benefits than the current federal plan. It would lead to the retirement of Units 2 and 3 by the end of 2017, and the installation of nitrogen-oxide reducing technology, called selective non-catalytic reduction technology, on the remaining two units in early 2016. The plan balances cost impacts to customers while resulting in significant environmental benefits. PNM currently is required to comply with a federal plan that would require installation of selective catalytic reduction technology that will not result in the environmental benefits achieved by retirement.
"This agreement is a significant milestone in our efforts to implement an alternative compliance plan that reduces the cost impact to our customers and has broad environmental benefits," said Pat Vincent-Collawn, PNM chairman, president and CEO. "The plan positions us for an improved environmental future by reducing not only haze-forming emissions but also carbon emissions, water usage and coal combustion byproducts."
The terms of the plan primarily focus on how San Juan would meet the regional haze rule but also include a natural gas plant to be built at San Juan to partially replace the capacity from the retired coal units. Detailed replacement power strategies would be finalized separately from the haze agreement. The company believes adequate replacement power alternatives will be available to meet PNM's remaining generation needs and ensure reliability.
"We appreciate the leadership Gov. Susana Martinez has provided on this important issue, and her encouragement and support of the exploration of alternatives that provide broader consumer and environmental benefits," Vincent-Collawn said. "With the Governor's framework, the N.M. Environment Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency demonstrated cooperation and leadership throughout the process of exploring a new alternative. We also are appreciative of the attention to this issue that the full N.M. Congressional delegation provided, as well as President Ben Shelly of the Navajo Nation."
The terms of the non-binding agreement would require several additional actions before becoming final. NMED would need to file a revised State Implementation Plan that then would require formal adoption from the N.M. Environmental Improvement Board, and, ultimately, final approval from the EPA. The N.M. Public Regulation Commission also would have to approve retirement of the two units and plans to acquire replacement power. EIB approval is projected for late October 2013, with EPA action projected in late 2014.
"I am very pleased that the EPA and the State of New Mexico have reached agreement on the future of the San Juan plant that avoids further adversarial litigation," said Sen. Tom Udall. "This agreement aims to reduce pollution, while protecting local jobs and New Mexico ratepayers. It will also accelerate our state's transition to a less carbon-intensive, cleaner energy portfolio using New Mexico's resources. Throughout this process I have urged cooperation from all parties and I would like to thank EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry, NMED Secretary Dave Martin, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly, and PNM CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn for their hard work to reach an agreement. I would also like to thank all of the New Mexico stakeholders who participated in this discussion and weighed in with their analysis. This robust process has yielded a good result."
With headquarters in Albuquerque, PNM is the largest electricity provider in New Mexico, serving 500,000 customers in dozens of communities across the state. PNM is a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company also headquartered in Albuquerque. For more information, visit PNM.com.
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Statements made in this news release that relate to PNM's expectations, projections and estimates are made pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Readers are cautioned that all forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and estimates, and PNM assumes no obligation to update this information..