The San Juan Mine feeds the San Juan Generating Station, one of the largest and most polluting coal-fired power plants in the country. The power plant disposes of its coal combustion wastes in the open pits of the mine where the coal is stripmined, polluting the groundwater that local residents rely upon to drink and to feed their livestock. WELC is seeking to put an end to this destructive method of disposing coal combustion wastes.
A settlement agreement was reached on March 28, 2012. The settlement obligates the companies to build structures including a “slurry wall” and a recovery trench to prevent contaminants from traveling toward the San Juan River, pumping the pollution instead into a lined storage pond. The settlement resolves the lawsuit initially filed on April 8, 2010 in the Federal District Court for the District of New Mexico against PNM, PNM Resources, San Juan Coal Company, and BHP Billiton alleging surface and ground water pollution illegal under the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
(WELC project # 678)