KIRTLAND, N.M. (AP) — The clamor of second graders breaking away from lessons to form lunch lines has gotten quieter in a rural New Mexico community, where families losing coal jobs have been forced to pack up and leave in search of work.
At Judy Nelson Elementary, 1 in 4 students have left in an exodus spurred by decisions made five years ago to shutter a coal-fired power plant and mine that sit just up the road from the school in a largely Navajo community. The plant and mine had provided electricity to millions of people across the southwestern U.S. for nearly a half-century.
The San Juan Generating Station burned its last bit of coal Thursday. The remaining workers will spend the coming weeks draining water from the plant, removing chemicals and preparing to tear down what has long been fixture on the high-desert horizon.
It’s part of the latest wave of coal-burning units to be retired as New…
The Associated Press
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