June 19th First News: Regulators Give PNM Green Light for $56 Million Natural Gas Plant (Listen)

Jun 19, 2014

New Mexico regulators have given the state's largest electric utility the go-ahead to build a 56- million dollar natural gas power plant. Public Service Company of New Mexico says the La Luz Energy Center southwest of Belen will enable the company to maintain service for its customers in a cost-efficient way. Utility officials say building the plant next to existing transmission lines and two major interstate gas pipelines will help keep costs down. Construction is scheduled to begin later this year. It will be complete in early 2016. Adding the gas plant to its portfolio will help as PNM looks for other sources of electricity in preparation for shutting down part of its coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico. 

Records show that newly issued driver's licenses to immigrants in New Mexico have plunged by nearly a third in the past year despite no change in the state's policy of granting driving privileges to foreign nationals living in the country illegally. There's no clear explanation for the 31 percent drop from 2012 to 2013, but the trend is continuing so far this year, according to state records obtained by The Associated Press. Immigrant rights activist Marcela Diaz of Santa Fe contends that fewer immigrants are moving to New Mexico because of a weak economy and lack of jobs.

Republican Governor Susana Martinez attributes the decline to the "word getting out" in the immigrant community that New Mexico prosecutes individuals who fraudulently try to obtain licenses when they aren't state residents.

Santa Fe Police have released a picture of a religious icon worn by the bicyclist who died after an accident with the Rail Runner Monday in an effort to track down his identity.  The victim was wearing a Our Lady of Mount Carmel scapular around his neck when he was hit. The cyclist was also wearing a white baseball hat with a black lettering that says “New York: Capital of the World” on it. He also had a gold chain around his neck. The photos are available on the Santa Fe Police Department’s Facebook page. Anyone who recognizes these articles and knows the person to whom they belong is urged to call Santa Fe police at 505 428 3710

More living room for grizzly bears is the subject of a petition being filed with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  KSFR's Dave Marash has the bear facts.*****Audio  :41 STD*****

TEXT:  Bring back the grizzly bear: that's the goal of The Center for Biological Diversity which is petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revise its plan to expand the habitat of the big bears.  The Center has identified more than 170 square miles, much of it forest land along the New Mexico-Arizona border as suitable for grizzlies.  The Federal Wildlife service has a plan to ensure grizzly survival, but it's more than 20 years old, and the Center for Biological Diversity says, it needs some serious updating.  For KSFR News, I'm Dave Marash. 

A movie about efforts to take down a Mexican cartel boss will be filmed in New Mexico. New Mexico Film Office Director Nick Maniatis announced Wednesday that the feature "Sicario" will be shot in Albuquerque and surrounding communities at the end of June through the end of August. Starring Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Josh Brolin, "Sicario" is the story of a by-the-book female FBI agent who is assigned to work with two Delta-force operators to take down a Mexican cartel boss. The film will be based at Albuquerque Studios and will employ about 200 New Mexico crew members as well as more than two-thousand resident actors and background talent.

Santa Fe Weather: Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. Tonight: Partly cloudy, with a low around 53.  Tomorrow: Mostly sunny with a high of 85 and a slight chance for showers or thunderstorms after noon.