RIO RANCHO, NM (KRQE) – Intel has cleared a major hurdle that could lead to a bigger plant in Rio Rancho with more jobs. The New Mexico Environment Department approved Intel’s request for new air permits.
“This sends a very positive sign that New Mexico is open for business,” Rio Rancho Economic Development Director Noreen Scott said.
Sources tell News 13 a multibillion dollar expansion is in the works that could add hundreds of jobs.
Intel would not confirm that plans are already on paper but released a statement to News 13 saying, “While Intel has not announced plans to expand its New Mexico facility, approval of Intel’s permit revision helps pre-position the site for future growth.”
The Rio Rancho Observer also has an article on the new permit and the equipment that could be installed.
The proposed modification consists of the installation of seven thermal oxidizers, 10 cooling towers, one boiler, three ammonia treatment systems and one bulk specialty solvent waste-treatment system. This equipment would be needed – and only installed – if Intel made the decision to expand its local facility, Davidson reiterated.
Intel hopes the testing of silica emissions from its Rio Rancho plant will assuage fears of Corrales residents who say it made people sick.
A recent report by a Corrales-based task force formed to study silica emissions said sampling done in December revealed the stacks at the computer chip plant emitted 0.00050 pounds of crystalline silica per hour, or 1/55,000 the level considered safe by the Community Environmental Working Group. The Intel-sponsored group developed the level based on data from the state of California.
Some Corrales residents won’t be happy with either of these developments.