Alibi V.28 No.21 • May 23-29, 2019 

Newscity

Facebook Ordered to Pay for Line

The News Monkey

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission rejected a request from the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) to reconsider its decision to charge Facebook for its half of a 45-mile transmission line.

Last month the PRC voted against PNM's request to charge its customers for about half of the cost of installing a transmission line that would provide electricity to the future Facebook data center located in Los Lunas. The decision meant Facebook would have to pay around $39 million more than what it had originally agreed upon. In a statement earlier this month, a spokesperson for Facebook implied that the decision could jeopardize the future of the entire project. PNM subsequently refiled its request.

But according to KRQE, the PRC voted last week not to rehear the case. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has reportedly been speaking privately with Facebook, said the decision was disappointing and told reporters that “the potential for a chilling effect is of great concern.”

Utility Dive reports that the new line will only serve two retailer customers: Facebook and energy services company Avangrid Renewables. In her proposed order, PRC Hearing Examiner Carolyn Glick said none of the line's capacity is required to meet the needs of PNM's other retail customers.

Deming Declares State of Emergency

Last week the Deming City Council voted to declare a state of emergency in response to hundreds of asylum-seekers being dropped off there by US Border Patrol agents.

According to KOAT, Luna County officials were contacted by Border Patrol over a month ago with a request to allow the agency to drop off asylum-seekers in Deming. But city leaders say they are being overwhelmed by an influx of people—between 125 and 175 migrants a day. Hundreds have reportedly been dropped off at bus stops in Deming since the beginning of the month. County officials opened the Southwestern New Mexico Fairgrounds to temporarily house migrants during the crisis.

Businesses and residents have been attempting to assist the migrants as they pass through, but as the volume of people increases, providing food and shelter is becoming more difficult. City and county officials are asking that donations of food and clothing be made to the First Assembly of God Church in Deming.

Group Questions Energy Law Emails

A group that supports the gas and oil industry is claiming that emails concerning renewable energy legislation exchanged between environmentalists and a member of the governor's cabinet represent a conflict of interest.

The Associated Press reports that oil and gas advocates Power the Future obtained emails between state energy secretary Sarah Cottrell Propst and several environmental groups—including the renewable energy firm she led before taking her current position—through a public records request. Officials with the group say the emails illustrate that Cottrell Propst was consulting with these groups while writing legislation that set new goals for renewable energy for the state. In one email, Cottrell Propst allegedly asked a renewable energy trade group to review a portion of the bill related to energy storage policies. The energy secretary denies giving preferential treatment to her former employer during the writing of the bill and says that the administration has been transparent about its renewable energy agenda.