Correction issued below
LOS LUNAS, N.M. (KRQE) – The Village of Los Lunas is set to vote on a multi-billion dollar expansion of Facebook’s data center this week. However, some residents want to pump the breaks on the vote. Facebook is asking for a series of six payments exceeding no more than $6.6 billion for each payment, totaling nearly $40 billion. If approved, the expansion would add about 300 new jobs and 30 more full-time employees. But some residents aren’t on board just yet.
“We’re not opposed to Facebook being here, we just want to hold them accountable for their water use and also the Los Lunas City Council accountable for the promises they’re making on our water,” Amber Jeansonne, a Valencia County resident, and Valencia Water Watchers member, said.
Valencia Water Watchers is a grassroots community organization aimed at raising awareness of area water and the local government’s decisions surrounding it. It is asking for Thursday’s vote to be delayed.
“That’s really the bottom line. Too many unanswered questions. Too many unheard concerns. And this is premature,” K.A. McCord, Valencia County resident and Valencia Water Watchers member said.
They said the Village of Los Lunas has not been transparent enough about the project and the impact it would have on the area, particularly how much more water the company would be using from the Middle Rio Grande Basin. At a virtual public meeting on Monday night, nearly 50 community members expressed their concerns, including a local farmer.
“I’ve had one or two cuts a year. I’ve lost a lot of money…we don’t have enough water. Facebook does not need more water. We as farmers need more water,” he said. There is a petition with more than 200 signatures for Thursday’s vote to be delayed.
“One would hope that they would pay attention to the fact that the people in the community are paying attention,” McCord said. Valencia Water Watchers said it did have a meeting with Facebook Monday morning but that Facebook did not give written, official estimates of their water consumption with the expansion.
The village administrator said he didn’t have exact numbers on him of how much more water consumption the expansion would cause. In terms of transparency, he said the vote was advertised in the local paper and that community members are able to give input during the public comment portion of Thursday’s meeting.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the Mayor of Los Lunas and all of its village councilor members but only heard back from Councilor Gino Romero who said he did not have enough information on the project yet to give a comment.
Correction: In a previous version of this story it was reported that Facebook was asking for about $6.6 billion in Industrial Revenue Bonds to add up to six new buildings, that is incorrect, Facebook is asking for a series of six payments exceeding no more than $6.6 billion for each payment, totaling nearly $40 billion.