A new carbon proposal in Farmington will bring environmental degradation and cost our community dearly in the form of decreased air quality and immense opportunity costs.
A Half-Baked Scheme
In early 2019, inexperienced duo Jason Selch and Lawrence Heller founded the company Enchant Energy Corporation (Enchant)and convinced the City of Farmington that they could keep San Juan Generating Station open with speculative carbon capture technology. Enchant is effectively proposing to dig up sequestered carbon in coal seams, only to burn it and then attempt to (less efficiently) recapture and rebury it. It’s not hard to see how the environment, and our community, loses with the project.
Right now, the San Juan Generating Station is scheduled to shut down in 2022. Keeping the plant open means continuing a legacy of contamination. After decades of pollution and adverse health impacts levied onto local communities and workers, the shuttering of San Juan would finally mean cleaner, healthier air for our communities. Keeping the plant open means continuing this legacy of contamination with what would effectively be nothing more than a carbon dioxide manufacturing facility.
It is time for the Four Corners to transition away from its historic dependence on fossil fuels and move towards a more sustainable energy economy so we can protect the natural resources of the region and preserve the health of its residents for decades to come.
False Hope for the Community
The proposal by Enchant disingenuously peddles unproven technology and sells the deceitful promise of a resuscitated coal economy in the Four Corners. Our communities are presented with a short window for transition and, at a time when our elected officials should be focusing on realistic and sustainable options for the future, the opportunity costs of blindly following the status quo are immense.
Northwest New Mexico is missing out on the chance to participate in energy transition because communities have been blinded by false hope of jobs and economic boon being promised by Enchant. Instead of being strung along by empty promises from Enchant, our community and its workers deserve the truth. And the truth is that Enchant Energy still lacks financing for its project, lacks power purchase agreements, lacks a buyer for the CO2 it plans to produce, lacks any guarantee of transmission or water rights, and has yet to deliver any sort of concrete plan that involves a realistic timeline.