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New Mexico panel OKs abandonment of coal-fired power plant

Four Corners Power Plant. Photo courtesy of EcoFlight and San Juan Citizens Alliance

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators have green-lighted an application by the state's largest electric utility to abandon its interest in a major coal-fired power plant.

The Public Regulation Commission on Wednesday voted unanimously in favor of letting Public Service Co. of New Mexico divest from the San Juan Generating Station.

The commission also approved an order allowing the utility to issue $360 million in bonds to fund decommissioning costs, severance packages for displaced workers and job training programs.

The bonds will be paid off by utility customers.

The votes came after a delay in the online proceeding that resulted from an outburst by a group of young people that included epithet-laden chat messages and rap music.