Report: Stalled projects costing jobs, revenue

Staff and wire reports

A canceled Clovis ethanol plant is among five stalled New Mexico energy projects cited as costing the state jobs and revenue in a national report released Thursday.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says a handful of stalled energy projects are costing New Mexico billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs.

The organization released a study Thursday of more than 350 energy projects that were pending around the nation as of March 2010. The list included five projects in New Mexico, from a troubled biomass project in Torrance County to the controversial Desert Rock Energy Project on the Navajo Nation.

The study says the state is losing out on $4.9 billion in initial investment and 18,000 jobs that could have been created during construction phases of the projects.

The study’s author says not all of the projects should be built, but it’s clear the permitting process is broken and stalling economic growth across the country.

The Clovis ConAgra Ethanol Plant, first proposed in 2006, met with resistance from residents concerned about potential air quality issues connected to the plant’s planned placement on the southern edge of the community.

In January 2008, the company withdrew its air quality permit application, citing volatility in the fuel market as reason for canceling the project.

The plant, estimated to cost $200 million, was projected to create 60 jobs and produce 110 million gallons of ethanol a year, according to the Project No Project website.

The full study is available online at: www.projectnoproject.com