A group of prominent area residents have banned together to take on Washington and that confrontation has come in the form of a letter writing campaign about the Caprock Wind Ranch located near San Jon.
Tucumcari attorney Warren Frost said Quay County is in danger of losing the Cielo wind power development because of the tie up in the U.S. Senate over the current energy bill.
“What it comes down to is the wind energy tax credit is set to expire at the end of next month without being extended, and if that happens they (the Cielo Wind Power concern) could well lose interest and pull out. and we don’t want that,” said Frost.
County Commissioner Grace Madrid agreed with Frost.
“These are solid jobs,” said Madrid. “That’s why so many people are writing letters. Everything’s on hold right now.”
According to Frost, the wind power tax credit is a very popular aspect of the pending energy bill and to a certain extent it is being “held hostage” in order to get some of those senators who support it to support the entire energy bill.
“What we are asking is that they make the wind power tax credit a separate bill and pass that,” said Frost. “But they have to break it out of the original bill to do that.”
To accomplish that he and others have enlisted different individuals and groups to write letters to the U.S. Senators representing New Mexico, Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman.
Frost said the two senators are especially well placed to help hurry the legislation through.
Domenici is chairman of the energy committee dealing with the energy bill and Bingaman is the ranking minority member on the committee.
“So they are definitely well placed to deal with this,” said Frost.
The legislation in the bill extends the tax credit set aside for wind power generation for another three years.
Madrid pointed out that the area would be losing a great deal of money if the 80 unit power source does not become a reality. She said Quay County could lose as much as $134,000 in taxes and the San Jon School District could lose as much as $86,000, while the Tucumcari Schools could lose $3,600 as could Mesalands Community College.
“And it will produce 10 full-time jobs and another 150 construction jobs,” said Madrid. “It’s very important to have this sort of economic development in Tucumcari. Wind energy is the biggest boost to Quay County we’ve had in a long time.”
Among those groups or individuals whom have sent letters to the two senators are: The Quay County Commissioners, San Jon School Board, the Village Administrator of San Jon, the mayor of Tucumcari, the Tucumcari School Superintendent, the president of Mesalands Community College and the village administrator of Logan.
“But we don’t want to stop there,” said Frost. “We want people aware of this. We want as many people to send letters as we can get.”