Heinrich Welcomes El Paso Electric Agreement On Newman 6

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) is welcoming the announcement that El Paso Electric (EPE)—the electric utility that serves southern New Mexico and the El Paso, Tex. metropolitan region—has reached an agreement with the Chaparral Coalition for Community Health and the Environment, the Sierra Club, and Earthworks that will greatly improve air quality in the region and move the utility toward a clean and pollution-free future.

In June, Senator Heinrich sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan requesting an evaluation of how El Paso Electric’s air quality permit request for the Newman 6 unit puts El Paso and Doña Ana Counties at risk for hazardous air pollution and emissions, affecting the health and safety of residents in southern New Mexico who have already been subjected to declining air quality in recent years.

“This is progress for the people of southern New Mexico and El Paso,” said Heinrich. “While I remain disappointed that El Paso Electric moved forward with the Newman 6 unit, I commend all of the community leaders who stood firm in calling for cleaner air, improved public health, and responsible energy generation. By holding El Paso Electric’s feet to the fire, they’ve secured the utility’s commitment to offset the pollution from the Newman 6 unit and create a future for electricity generation in this region that will be clean, affordable, and carbon pollution-free.”

Under the agreement, EPE will block future fossil fuel power plant construction after the utility completes the Newman Unit 6 combustion turbine at the Newman methane gas power plant in El Paso County,Texas near the New Mexico border. You can find more details on the full terms of the agreement between El Paso Electric and community advocates here.

You can find the full text of Senator Heinrich letter to Administrator Regan here, and the response letter from EPA Acting Regional Director David W. Gray here.