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Press release: Latino community rallies for clean energy and a healthier future

By January 5, 2015Climate & Energy, Juntos

PRC kicks-off review of PNM energy plan amid protests and packed hearings

Santa Fe, NM – The first day back in the office was a tough one for members of the state’s Public Regulation Commission (PRC). On Monday, January 5th the commissioners opened their doors for more than a week of public comment on a proposal by PNM, the state’s largest utility, to import coal and nuclear energy instead of increasing the generation of clean energy in the state.

More than 30 community groups from across the state gathered nearly 300 volunteers and members to speak at the hearing and to join a rally outside the PRC’s building. “We’re here to call on the commissioners to send PNM’s proposal back to the drawing board,” explains Vicente Garcia, director of Juntos, a program of the Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund. “PNM needs to map out a plan that invests in clean energy and invests in the present and future health and well-being of our communities.”
According to Garcia and other Juntos volunteers, Latino communities have a lot at stake in the PRC’s decision regarding PNM’s energy plan. A recent poll found that 79% of Latinos in New Mexico are concerned about pollution and 7 out of 10 see clean energy as the solution to reducing pollution, improving health and strengthening the economy. The same poll showed that 84% support requiring their utility company to increase their generation of clean energy.
“Our communities care about these issues not only because our neighborhoods are often the most polluted, but also because we know that we have the moral obligation and responsibility to protect our air, land and water for future generations,” continues Garcia. “We are calling on the PRC and PNM to be responsible. They need to replace the San Juan Generating Station with solar and wind energy.”
Juntos and Latino communities across the country are increasingly scrutinizing their utility companies and state regulators to ensure that pollution, particularly from dirty coal-fired power plants, is addressed. Latinos are three times more likely to die from asthma than other racial or ethnic groups. Latino children are 40 percent more likely to die from asthma than other ethnicities, and nearly 1 in 10 Latino children under the age of 18 suffer from this chronic respiratory illness.
The PRC’s public hearings are expected to continue for three weeks with an anticipated decision in April of this year. Lastly, Garcia remarked: “We won’t stop until the commissioners and our utility company see the writing on the wall. New Mexicans, especially our communities, are saying enough is enough. They can’t play games with our health and economy.”
Contact: Liliana Castillo, 505-992-8683 or