Mindset of the Solyndra Debacle is Plaguing New Mexico

Jim Spence
New Mexicans received good news this month. The good news is about clarity. Never have the choices facing the state’s voters regarding job creation policies been made more clear. The clarity begins with Senator Tom Udall and Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman falling silent. Green job subsidy champions Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Lujan are also suddenly very quiet. Undoubtedly each of these four men are hoping that nobody in the Land of Enchantment is paying attention to their support for the Solyndra-like approaches to job-creation.
President Obama at Solyndra
Unfortunately, the half billion dollar loss suffered by taxpayers in the Solyndra debacle is only a tiny drop in the bucket when compared to all the economic damage being done to New Mexico by every naive “green jobs” theory of Jeff Bingaman, Tom Udall, Ben Ray Lujan, and Senator want-to-be, Martin Heinrich. The future for electricity bills in New Mexico is a case in point.
Public Service Company of New Mexico serves more electricity customers than any other power company in the state. And now, thanks to another “Solyndra-like” federal government agency ruling, the company is being forced to rely on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to protect New Mexicans and itself from another group of over-reaching un-elected officials. It seems the Obama administration, through the Environmental Protection Agency, will once again be arguing for their "ruling" that will force much higher electricity rates on all New Mexicans. The EPA, with the support of over-represented special interest groups, groups that have provided millions of dollars in political campaign contributions to Barack Obama, Jeff Bingaman, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, and Ben Ray Lujan, wants to force PNM and the other owners of the San Juan Generating Station’s coal-fired power plant near Farmington, to spend more than $740 million to reduce emissions.
If their ruling stands, "emissions" will be reduced by a practically undetectable handful of particles per billion. And unfortunately for New Mexicans, if the ruling stands, PNM’s New Mexico customers will be forced to foot the bill for $345 million in unnecessary and very expensive equipment. Alternatively, if PNM rate regulators force the company to eat the costs (instead of the users of the power) of this equipment, the company could conceivably choose to simply shut the plant down and reduce the already razor-thin margin of safety for the state’s electricity supplies during severe weather.
According to the Associated Press, PNM Resources’s CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn said, "With the stakes for us and our customers so high, we believe a request for stay is a reasonable request to make." Too bad Bingaman, Udall, Heinrich, and Lujan cannot seem to grasp what is at stake for New Mexico.
Observers close to the latest litigation involving PNM believe the Obama administration’s attack on the San Juan Generating Station is reflective of a remarkable change in national energy policy since 2009. And again, with the full support of Jeff Bingaman, Tom Udall, Martin Heinrich, and Ben Ray Lujan, the president is using the assumed powers of administrators living in Washington D.C. to hamper the availability of coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power sources to New Mexico, and to the rest of the nation. Employing the same failed approach that led to the absurd loan to Solyndra by the U.S. Energy Department, the president’s EPA strategy also appears to be to try to make sure that current electricity bills become much more expensive so that so-called “green” energy appears more financially palatable. 
Given the fact that President Obama is already on the record stating that companies like bankrupt “Solyndra,” are the way of the future, it is clear that political disfavor is being manufactured by the EPA, and is being heaped on companies like PNM Resources. Despite the fact that power produced by solar panels and wind turbines, is not financially competitive (even with huge federal government subsidies), it seems clear that efficient sources of power will continue to be damaged by EPA rulings.
The good news is in November of 2012 New Mexicans will have the opportunity to choose Senator Bingaman’s successor and will also have choices for Martin Heinrich’s vacated seat as well as Ben Ray Lujan’s seat in the House. Only Congressman Steve Pearce seems able to connect the terrible dots. He is the only elected official New Mexico sends to Washington willing to admit the philosophy behind the loan to Solyndra is completely consistent with all the other cost-escalating and job-killing policies supported by Senator Bingaman, Senator Udall, Representatives Lujan, and Heinrich. The good news for voting New Mexicans is they finally have clarity about what policies they are getting from these officials.

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