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April 8 First News: Attorney General Balderas Weighs-In On San Juan Power Future Dispute (Listen)

Attorney General Hector Balderas’s office has asked the state Public Regulation Commission to require Public Service Company of New Mexico—PNM--to submit a finalized restructuring agreement on impending changes at the San Juan Generating Station. PNM will partially close two units at the aging coal-fired San Juan Generating Station in the four corners region under an agreement with federal and state officials to curb haze-causing pollution in the area. The power plant currently provides electricity for more than two- million people in the Southwest. PNM wants to replace the lost electricity with coal from one of San Juan’s other units, electricity generated by the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona, a new natural gas-fired plant and more solar generating stations. Balderas on Tuesday asked PNM to comply by May 1st or submit an alternate plan. His action comes after Albuquerque city councilors voted 6-3 Monday to adopt a resolution to withdraw support for a plan proposed by PNM of New Mexico. The resolution voiced concerns about replacing some of the lost power with more coal generation. The city was the latest entity to come out in opposition of PNM's plan. The utility argues it's the most cost-effective plan for ratepayers.

Governor Susana Martinez has signed three bills, including “business friendly” legislation to help boost New Mexico's economy. She urged business leaders to help her move the state forward during a Tuesday Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce conference and offered her take on the legislative session. She critiqued Senate leaderships in her half-hour talk saying the public and the business community have a right to be disappointed with the lack of action in that chamber on key House priorities. She cited the failure of a right-to-work initiative, a bill to end social promotion of third graders, and a multi-million public works projects measure. Martinez noted that the state added 16-thousand jobs in the past year, the strongest growth since 2006.

She said "We're making progress and the reforms are working."

Industry representatives, environmentalists and state officials have reached a compromise over how to protect groundwater from potential contamination from dairy operations. Settlement talks began several days before state regulators were scheduled to open a public hearing to consider changes to New Mexico's dairy regulations. That hearing was Monday in Roswell. The state Water Quality Control Commission plans to vote on the settlement during its meeting in May.

The Roswell Daily Record reports that the proposed regulations would lessen the number of required monitoring wells and give dairy farmers more flexibility on how to contain wastewater. Environmental groups say the proposal also calls for dairies to still be responsible for cleaning- up pollution they cause. New Mexico has dozens of dairies and ranks among the nation’s top milk and cheese producers.

 The Santa Fe Police Department is hoping to see locals come out for an event on Saturday to support its efforts preventing child abuse and raising awareness of the toll child abuse takes. SFPD spokeswoman Lieutenant Andrea Dobyns: *****Dobyns-3 :33*****Dobyns says the speakers will be: Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales, Children, Youth and Families Department Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson, Santa Fe Police Chief Eric Garcia and Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer. Dobyns adds the event is part of the national Million March Against Child Abuse. *****Dobyns-5 :20***** In April people across the country are joining together, in several states, walking to raise awareness through public education about the scale of child abuse and violent crimes against children in the U.S.  Child advocates point out that annually there are more than three-million reported child abuse cases.

New Mexico State University regents have approved a two-point-four percent tuition increase and a plan to cut nine-million dollars in spending amid falling student enrollment. Regents voted on the increase and a blueprint to reduce staff through attrition and a hiring moratorium that took effect last month. Officials say fall semester enrollment at NMSU has dropped 13 percent over five years.

Santa Fe Weather:  Sunny and windy today with the high near 63—winds will increase this afternoon and could gust as high as 45 miles an hour. Tonight: Clear and windy with the overnight low down to 32. Tomorrow: sunny and a high of 59.