center will bring more than 1,300 jobs to Rio Rancho
Governor Bill Richardson announced in June that Hewlett-Packard
(HP) has chosen to open a new state-of-the-art customer service
and technical support center in Rio Rancho. The technology giant
plans to open the center in 2009 and bring more than 1,300 jobs
to the area over the next four years.
“I’m proud that HP realized New Mexico is a great place
to do business and has chosen our state to make this tremendous
investment,” Governor Bill Richardson said. “This is
another major step in our momentum to continue building a diverse,
dynamic, high-wage, and strong economy.”
HP officials say they based their decision on New Mexico’s
quality workforce, business environment, standard of living, and
government cooperation. The new center is expected to open in 2009
with a few hundred employees and grow to more than 1,300 by 2012.
“We are extremely excited to have HP select New Mexico for
this facility,” Economic Development Secretary Fred Mondragon
said. “This celebration is a direct result of wonderful collaboration
between our office, the NM partnership, Albuquerque Economic Development,
the City of Rio Rancho, and the office of the Governor. We welcome
HP to New Mexico.”
HP is working with Rio Rancho officials and developers on a location
and the design and construction of the new facility, which will
be optimized for service and support center operations, with features
that include advanced IT and telecommunications systems to track
and transfer calls, and spaces for collaboration and training.
In addition to Rio Rancho, HP announced that it is also opening
a new customer service and technical support center in Conway, Arkansas.
“HP is delighted to be creating these new centers in cooperation
with the communities in Rio Rancho and Conway,” said Jon Flaxman,
HP executive vice president and chief administration officer. “With
these new facilities, we expect to improve processes and achieve
efficiencies that will help us continue to improve the total experience
for our growing number of customers.”
Plan for promoting geothermal energy development
on federal lands open for comment
In the next step toward efficient development of geothermal energy
resources on federal lands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
and the USDA Forest Service have initiated a public comment period
on a Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for
leasing geothermal resources in the western states and Alaska.
Publication of a Notice of Availability for the Draft PEIS in today’s
Federal Register begins a ninety-day public comment period on the
alternatives and impact analysis presented in the draft document.
The preferred alternative considers approximately 117 million acres
of public lands and seventy-five million acres of National Forest
lands for potential geothermal leasing. The BLM administers geothermal
leasing on the public lands it manages and on lands in the National
Forest System, where the Forest Service is the surface management
“Federal lands in the West and Alaska contain the largest
potential geothermal resources in this country,” said BLM
Director Jim Caswell. “With the strong interest and support
of state and local governments and clear direction from Congress,
we are taking the next step in an aggressive program to make these
resources available for responsible development to help meet the
nation’s energy needs.”
For lease applications pending as of January 1, 2005, the Record
of Decision (ROD) on the Final PEIS will identify whether geothermal
leasing is appropriate on lands identified in the applications and
complete processing of these applications, as required by the Energy
Policy Act of 2005. The ROD will also amend BLM resource management
plans to allocate lands with geothermal potential as being closed
or open to leasing with minor or major constraints, and will provide
information to the Forest Service to facilitate the agency’s
consent decisions for geothermal leasing on National Forest System
lands. Additionally, to protect special resource values, the BLM
and Forest Service are proposing a comprehensive list of stipulations,
conditions of approval (COAs), and best management practices (BMPs)
to be incorporated into future leases.
The preferred alternative in the Draft PEIS considers all public
lands and National Forest System lands with potential for geothermal
development available for leasing except those that are withdrawn
or administratively closed to geothermal leasing. The Draft PEIS
also evaluates another alternative based on public input gained
during scoping that would limit geothermal leasing for electrical
generation to areas near transmission lines.
Written comments on the Draft PEIS may be submitted by any of three
U.S. mail: Geothermal Programmatic EIS, c/o EMPSi, 182 Howard
Street, Suite 110, San Francisco, CA 94105.
In addition, comments may be submitted at a public meeting scheduled
for July 22 in Albuquerque at the University of New Mexico Conference
Center, Room C, 1634 University NE. The meeting will be held from
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Geothermal energy production uses heat located naturally beneath
the surface of the earth to generate electricity with little or
no need to burn fuel. Geothermal energy currently accounts for 8.5
percent of renewable energy generation in the U.S. Though geothermal
energy generates a small portion of the nation’s electricity,
the U.S. continues to be the world leader in generating electricity
using geothermal energy. In 2005, geothermal energy generated over
14,800 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity, which is enough power
to supply the annual needs of 1.3 million homes.
Almost half of the nation’s geothermal energy production
and about ninety percent of U.S. geothermal resources occur on federal
lands. Currently, twenty-nine geothermal power plants are operating
under BLM authorization on federal lands in California, Nevada,
and Utah. They have a total capacity of 1,250 MW and supply the
needs of 1.2 million homes.
IRS is seeking 35,820 residents
The Internal Revenue Service has announced a new summer campaign
to reach those retirees and disabled veterans who qualify for the
economic stimulus payment but have not filed to claim it. New statistics
indicate about 74 percent in this group are accounted for in the
stimulus payments currently being sent, leaving about 5.2 million
potential recipients remaining. The agency expects to issue 124
million payments to Americans by year’s end. Eligible individuals
are receiving up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples filing joint
returns) plus $300 for eligible children younger than 17.
A special stimulus category includes recipients of certain benefits
from Social Security and Veterans Affairs who do not normally have
a requirement to file a tax return. However, these individuals must
file a tax return before Oct. 15 this year to receive their economic
Most people only need to file a tax return as they normally do.
The IRS will calculate eligibility and the payment amount. However,
many retirees and veterans do not normally file a tax return because
their benefits are not taxable. This year, they must file in order
to receive an economic stimulus payment.
Receiving the stimulus payment should have no impact on other federal
benefits currently being received. The stimulus payment is not taxable.
Absent any other filing requirements, filing a tax return to receive
a stimulus payment does not mean that retirees will have to start
filing tax returns again.
The IRS has identified 5.2 million retirees and veterans' beneficiaries
who potentially are eligible for the stimulus payments. Later this
summer, the agency will send them a special letter that explains
stimulus payment eligibility and how to claim it. The letter will
include a sample tax form and an actual tax form that people can
complete and mail to the IRS.
The IRS also is working with members of Congress, state and local
officials and national partners such as AARP, the National Council
on Aging, United Way of America, National Disability Institute and
others to continue its extensive outreach efforts to the retiree
and veterans’ communities through the summer. The IRS will
take the lead in coordinating face-to-face free tax preparation
sessions with the help of local community partners at locations
where these individuals live, work and socialize such as senior
housing, Veterans Affairs hospitals and assisted living facilities.
The agency also reminded people that it has more than 400 local
Taxpayer Assistance Centers operating normal business hours Monday
through Friday. These centers can provide assistance to retirees
and veterans trying to receive their payments. A list for addresses
and office hours can be found at “Contact My Local IRS Office”
For people who have no tax liability or no tax filing requirement,
there is a minimum payment of $300 ($600 for married couples), plus
the $300 for each qualifying child. To be eligible for the minimum
payment, individuals must have at least $3,000 in qualifying income.
The types of Social Security benefits that are considered qualifying
income include retirement, disability and survivor payments. Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) is not qualifying income. The types of Veterans
Affairs benefits that are considered qualifying income include disability
compensation, disability pension and survivor payments. Qualifying
Railroad Retirement payments include the social security equivalent
portion of Tier 1 benefits.