The California Public Utilities Commission November 6 gave the go ahead to Southern California Edison to seek rate recovery for $178 million in upgrades at a coal power plant in New Mexico. However, the commission also ordered the utility to quickly study whether it should sell its interest in the facility by 2012. Under the commission\u2019s decision, Edison can seek to recover the money needed for maintenance and pollution control at units 4 and 5 of the Four Corners Generation Station in northwest New Mexico. Edison is entitled to 48 percent of the output from the units--equal to 720 MW --under a contract that runs through 2016. Arizona Public Service operates the plant. In another part of its decision, the commission ordered the utility to submit a study within six months \u201con whether it should continue to maintain its interest\u201d in the plant after January 1, 2012. \u201cContinued ownership interest in Four Corners after that date could subject Edison\u2019s ratepayers to potential financial risk for greenhouse gas-compliance costs,\u201d the commission observed. The year 2012 is the date for the state to begin enforcing carbon emission reductions under its climate protection law, AB 32. The Four Corners plant also is caught up in litigation aimed at cutting smog-forming pollution, especially nitrogen oxides which form ozone and fine particles downwind. The decision came in response to Edison\u2019s request that the commission loosen its policy prohibiting utilities from making any long-term investments in coal power plants under SB 1368 (Circuit, Oct. 31, 2008). Under that law, the commission prohibits utilities from any spending on coal power plants that would extend their life more than five years. Ultimately, the law prohibits utilities from constructing any new coal plants or renewing any financial interests in existing coal plants after their current ownership or power purchase agreements expire. The law grants exceptions only for plants outfitted to capture and sequester carbon emissions from the atmosphere.